July 19, 2012
SCIENCE: Humans have long enjoyed nonhuman lovers—the proof is in our DNA. “DNA extracted from old Neanderthal bones proves that all people of European and Asian descent have a few percent of Neanderthal DNA inside them today, equivalent to the amount they inherited from each great-great-great-grandparent. In addition, scientists have discovered that Melanesians, the people who originally settled the islands between New Guinea and Fiji, seduced another archaic human race, the Denisovans, somewhere on the long haul from Africa to the south seas. The Melanesians still carry Denisovan DNA today. In some sense, then, neither Neanderthals nor Denisovans ever quite went extinct: Their DNA lives on in various non-African ethnic groups. . . . The study concluded that, about 35,000 years ago, some central Africans had children with an unnamed and now-extinct race of hominids. Like Europeans and Asians before them, these people couldn’t resist the temptations of nonhuman lovers. As scientists continue to probe the human genome, they’ll likely find even more examples of interbreeding in our past. The DNA memories of those deeds are buried deeper inside us than even our ids, but it seems that all peoples, everywhere, enjoyed cross-species love.”
Of course, if you can breed with them, do they really count as nonhuman?