Neanderthals, mammoths shared genetic traits

 Washington: The ancient woolly mammoths and Neanderthals shared similar genetic traits, according to study which may help explain how the two extinct mammals adapted to the cold environments. Woolly were elephant-like animals that evolved in the arctic peninsula of Eurasia around 600,000 years ago, while Neanderthals were highly skilled early humans who evolved in Europe around 400,000 years ago. The research attributes the human-elephant relationship during the Pleistocene epoch to their mutual ecology and shared living environments, in addition to other possible interactions  between the two species.

“Neanderthals and mammoths lived together in Europe during the Ice Age. The evidence suggests that Neanderthals hunted and ate mammoths for tens of thousands of years and were actually physically dependent on calories extracted from mammoths for their successful adaptation,” said Ran Barkai, from Tel Aviv  University in the US. “Neanderthals depended on mammoths for their very existence,” Barkai said in statement. “They say you are what you eat. This was especially true of Neanderthals; they ate mammoths but were apparently also genetically similar to mammoths,” he said.

To assess the degree of resemblance between mammoth and Neanderthal genetic components, the archaeologists reviewed three case studies of relevant gene variants and alleles — alternative forms of a gene that arise by mutation and are found at the same place on a chromosome — associated with cold-climate adaptation found in the genomes of both woolly mammoths and
Neanderthals. —PTI

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