Three years ago, I wrote this blog entry listing the three things I wanted to occur in my lifetime: humans on Mars, life discovered on another planet and proof that Neanderthals have descendants living on our planet right now.
According to research just announced, it looks like I finally have my wish on one of them: Yes, you who are reading this (if you are not of African descent) could be part Neanderthal. Yippee!
It seems new analysis of DNA taken from three bone samples proves that some of the Neanderthal genes live on in some people. I have always suspected Neanderthals walk among us because the two species existed on the planet at the same time for at least 10,000 years -- plenty of time for a Homo sapien Romeo and a Neanderthal Juliet to come together on some metaphorical balcony of love and reproduce.
Of course, the question has often been, if they did reproduce, were their offspring viable (could have children of their own)? If this new research stands, then the answer would be "yes" -- at least one time. That's all it would have taken for some Neanderthal DNA to get passed on.
You can read more about this fascinating discovery here.