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John010463 karma

Hi Ella! What do you think were the main factors behind Homo sapiens effectively dominating over Neanderthals (interbreeding notwithstanding)? And to that end, do you think it's actually possible to make a firm species differentiation between Neanderthals and Homo sapiens? Thanks (and congrats on the great programme!)

John010418 karma

Hi again Ella! Thanks for this fulsome and really interesting reply! And there are some very thought-provoking points contained within it :)) Am I correct that a somewhat lay definition of species differentiation is the lack of ability to breed together successfully to produce fertile offspring? Because by that measure, it would appear that you can't make a proper species differentiation between H sapiens and Neanderthals (which side of the "argument" are you on here, by the way?!). It's correct to say (I think!) that genome analysis suggests that H sapiens and Neanderthals shared a common ancestor one step further back in the Darwinian Tree of Life - so could this be an instance of speciation followed by re-amalgamation of the two species? Sounds like I'm going to enjoy tonight's programme a lot in any case!!

John01042 karma

Oooh also, with your stand-up hat on: do you have a favourite joke (or, for that matter, ANY jokes!) about either Neanderthals or paleoanthropology in general (and "paleoanthr-apologies" - while good - doesn't count :D )?