One of the most surprising facts you can discover in an ancestral report is the percentage of Neanderthal DNA found in your genes. In 1856, the first fossil remains of a Neanderthal were discovered in the Neander Valley (Germany). Since then, the morphology and genetics of this extinct species of the genus Homo began to be studied .
It’s known that Neanderthals lived in the Paleolithic period, between 300,000 and 28,000 years ago . This species coexisted for a long time with anatomically modern humans, with different mixtures of genetics between them. For this reason, a percentage of Neanderthal DNA can be found in the human genome.
What were the Neanderthals like?
Neanderthals are the extinct species closest to modern humans and were found mainly in Western Eurasia. Thanks to genetic tests, not only can you know your percentage of Neanderthal DNA, but you will also discover your geographical ancestry.
Through the archaeological remains found, it has been possible to define in detail what the characteristics of Neanderthals were like, from physical features to their genome, and even their habitats.
- As for their physical appearance, they had an elongated and flattened skull, with a prominent frontal part and well-marked eyebrows. The nose was noticeably larger and wider than that of a modern human.
- Their average height was shorter than that of humans, between 150 and 175 cm. Also, they were bulkier since their hips and shoulders were wider.
- Their musculature was notably robust.
- Despite popular belief, different scientific studies have shown that Neanderthals had intelligence.
- Different paintings discovered in caves show that they could express themselves artistically with symbols.
- Studies of their vocal and auditory anatomy have shown that Neanderthals may have developed the ability to speak.
- Additionally, archaeological sites have uncovered self-made tools that they used, for example, for hunting.
Genetic similarities between Neanderthals and humans
For approximately 40,000 years, Neanderthals are known to have coexisted with the anatomically modern human. At the same time that the Neanderthals lived in Europe and Western Asia, humans moved to different populations in Asia. This period was long enough for the genetic mixing between the two species.
As a result, today some people contain a higher percentage of Neanderthal DNA in their genome, which can be known through genetic studies, as well as other interesting facts such as the ancestral lineage.
Geneticists have sequenced the Neanderthal genomes of fossils to determine and study which fragments of the genome are shared with present-day humans and which are not. 
The human race, as we know it today, is the result of thousands of years of evolution. Within this evolution, there are certain traits shared with Neanderthals that we still carry today. In addition to the physical similarities and differences that may exist, different behaviors, actions, and skills have also been found to be shared between the two species, such as hunting, artistic skills, language, the use of fire or the creation of social groups. In addition, there are a large number of characteristics that differentiate them, such as the use of hands, nutrition, or the shape of the brain.
Scientific advances have transformed the vision we had about Neanderthals, discovering genetic flows between Neanderthals and Homo sapiens . As a result, a large number of genetic similarities have been found; making it possible for you to learn about the percentage of Neanderthal DNA in your genome.
How much Neanderthal DNA does a modern human have?
Ancestrum’s genetic report gives you the percentage of Neanderthal DNA between 0-4%, giving you an idea of how much your ancestors mixed with this species during the time they coexisted.
Depending on the continent of origin, the similarities and differences between the human genome and this extinct species may vary, so we can say that the percentage of Neanderthal DNA per country is different. This will also depend on the ancestry, since, despite coming from one region, it is possible to have ancestors who migrated through different areas of the world.
The percentage of Neanderthal DNA per country has been studied, concluding that African, European, and West Asia countries, carry approximately 1-2%.
In the case of Central Asia, East Asia, and America, the percentage of Neanderthal DNA in these countries is between 2-2.5%. In Southeast Asia and Oceania, the percentage maximizes reaching up to >2.5-4%.
How to know the percentage of Neanderthal DNA
Through a genetic test. With just a saliva sample taken in the comfort of your home, we can obtain the DNA that will be compared with our genetic databases, where there are several samples of Neanderthal DNA supported by prestigious studies. Thus, we can define what percentage of your DNA comes from a genetic mixture between humans and Neanderthals, before their extinction about 30,000 years ago.
Ancestrum uses a broad base of detected markers that may have a possible Neanderthal origin (about 700,000 genetic variations of your DNA), thus achieving a wider genomic context.
Now that you know why humans can have different percentages of Neanderthal DNA, it is time to discover yours. Additionally, thanks to Anestrum, you can discover all the information about your ancestry in a single test: geographical areas where your ancestors can be traced, ethnicities, ancestral mother and father, and even celebrities with whom you share genetic similarities. Take our ancestry test now and find out what it says about your past!
- Lalueza-Fox, C. (2010). Genómica Neandertal. https://digital.csic.es/bitstream/10261/43776/1/P%C3%A1ginas%20de%20Encuentros%2520con%2520la%2520Ciencia.pdf
- Rosas, A. (2010). Los neandertales (Vol. 9). Editorial CSIC-CSIC Press. https://books.google.es/books?hl=es&lr=&id=iH53QDGNvL4C&oi=fnd&pg=PA7&dq=que+son+los+neandertales&ots=0I5qSnMHO1&sig=1YnWIZWIfUSCNPmbmitmqGDwklM
- ¿Qué significa tener ADN neandertal o denisovano? MedlinePlus Genetics. https://medlineplus.gov/spanish/genetica/entender/pruebasdirectasalconsumidor/neardentalydenisovano/#:~:text=El%20porcentaje%20de%20ADN%20neandertal,de%20origen%20europeo%20o%20asi%C3%A1tico.
- RUBIO-CAMPILLO, X. A. V. I. E. R., Luján, J. D., Pagani, L., & Borràs, M. S. (2019). ” Nuevas perspectivas sobre la relación entre humanos anatómicamente modernos y neandertales”. Índice Histórico Español. https://revistes.ub.edu/index.php/IHE/article/download/31919/34398