Thursday, 9 May 2019

'Hippie Chimps' Had Sex with Mysterious 'Ghost Ape' Hundreds of Thousands of Years Ago

By Charles Q. Choi, Live Science Contributor | April 29, 2019 11:40am ET
Mysterious "ghost apes" may have interbred with the great apes known as bonobos just as modern humans repeatedly had sex with now-extinct human lineages, a new study finds.
Bonobos are, with chimpanzees, humanity's closest living relatives. Together, bonobos and chimps are part of the group Pan, just as modern humans and extinct lineages of humans make up the group Homo.
Recently, geneticists discovered that ancestors of modern humans often interbred with extinct human lineages such as Neanderthals and Denisovans. The DNA from such trysts continues to influence modern humans, from potential immune boosts to increased risk for depression, obesity, heart attacks and nicotine addiction. [In Photos: Bones from a Denisovan-Neanderthal Hybrid]
Previous research suggested that bonobos and chimps may have interbred as well. For example, prior work found genes likely flowed from bonobos to chimpanzees more than 200,000 years ago.
By analyzing the genomes from 10 bonobos and 59 chimpanzeess for signs of genes from unknown ancient groups, scientists have now uncovered evidence that bonobos also had sex with a now-extinct ape lineage.

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