1029 WHAT W0ULD A HUMAN-NEANDERTHAL HYBRID LOOK LIKE?
Dr Kerryn Warren, Human Evolution Research Institute, University of Cape Town
Contrary to popular belief, hybrids are fairly common among different species of animals: different species of baboons, mice and ducks hybridise as do horses, donkeys and zebra, wolves, dogs and coyotes, and lions and tigers. Hybrids can be smaller than their parents, look like their parents, or look completely different. Some are infertile whilst others are not. This has important implications for the way evolution is understood. If a hybrid can be more successful than the species that produced it, can it outcompete the original species? If hybrids look different from their parents, is hybridisation a way in which a new species can occur? As a result of success with ancient DNA it is now known that humans, Neanderthals and possibly other human cousins interbred in the last million years. This lecture discusses how mouse hybrids have been used to determine what a human-Neanderthal hybrid would look like.