There are three things I want to occur in my lifetime:
1: humans on Mars
2: life discovered on another planet
3: proof that neanderthals have descendants living on our planet right now.
We are making good progress on the first two; and this article provides support that the last one might actually be correct.
I have always questioned the assertion that neanderthals died out because of competition from better-adapted homo sapiens. I question not whether homo sapiens were better adapted (which they are); rather, that neanderthals died out.
Why could not neanderthals have interbred with modern humans, and provided their progeny with advantages from both species? Technically, different species cannot interbreed and have viable offspring. (Offspring are sterile, like mules.)
But, they are so similar in DNA (more than 95% the same) what if they are not really a different species at all -- rather, just an earlier line of modern man? Then breeding would not be a problem.
That's why so many anthropologists say give a neanderthal a bath, a haircut and an iPod and he would be indistinguishable from modern man.
Kinda makes you think, doesn't it?