When We Met Other Human Species

  • Published: 10 July 2019
  • We all belong to the only group of hominins on the planet today. But we weren’t always alone. 100,000 years ago, Eurasia was home to other hominin species, some of which we know our ancestors met, and spent some quality time with.

    Thanks to Julio Lacerda and Fabrizio de Rossi from Studio 252mya for their wonderful hominin illustrations. You can find more of their work here: 252mya.com/

    Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios: iloverimini.mobi/user/pbsdigitalstudios

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    References: docs.google.com/document/d/1h8iVAIugVPfxOcCZKeZxtZfa6mNP8V7xMhS_vxmDRl0/edit?usp=sharing
  • Science and Technology Science and Technology

Comments • 5 443

  • PBS Eons
    PBS Eons   2 months back

    Some commenters have pointed out that calling Neanderthals and Denisovans “other hominin species” in this episode breaks the rules of the biological species concept (BSC), which says if two things can interbreed, then they’re the same species. Some paleoanthropologists would agree. They consider both Neanderthals and Denisovans to be subspecies of Homo sapiens, rather than separate species. Other experts would say that Neanderthals have a set of features that make them clearly distinguishable from Homo sapiens, putting them outside the range of variation we include in our species. And we hardly know the Denisovans - like we said in the video, they don’t even have a scientific name yet.

    The incredible thing about this is that we can even think about applying the BSC to fossils at all. The BSC is a species concept based on living organisms, and it’s only been within the last two decades or so that we’ve had the ancient DNA and the technology to test hypotheses about interbreeding in extinct groups. And it’s not the only way to define a species, either, so it will likely be a while (if ever) before anthropologists decide whether we’re a different species, subspecies, or population from the Neanderthals and Denisovans.

    (Darcy Shapiro, PhD, script editor)

    • rh1507
      rh1507  1 weeks back

      It seems illogical that our species could successfully breed with a different biped species. Of course there are several variations of our species but we are all of the same species.

    • Adela Hogarth
      Adela Hogarth  2 weeks back

      They weren't different species.

      I'm a reptile handler enthusiast in Australia and there's perfect examples of one species looking so radically different, with vastly different hunting strategies, egg-clutching behaviour, and general size and appearance ... and yet they're the same species.

      The common carpet python and the diamond python.

      Both of them morelia spilota...

      Their personalities, colouration, hunting strategies, and even their average clutch sizes are wildly divergent.

      Both of them interbreed and produce fertile young. Both of them produce hybrids. That being said, in the wild they had become geographically locked into different environments with the Holocene epoch, and over thousands of generations have become very different looking and behaviourally incongruent subspecies of the whole.

      And these differences are worlds apart on their own, just not enough to create two distinct species.

      Another common example? Dogs. All of them have been carefully bred and undertaken significant animal husbandry that you can have dogs the size of your hand, to dogs that weigh as much as a person. Still the same species.

    • ChickenFish
      ChickenFish  2 weeks back

      @Olav big cats can breed even hybrid ones male or female.theyre are more likely to be sterile.thats all. and species is a word used to describe compatible breeders. if 2 things can breed they are the same species

    • EastTexassurvival
      EastTexassurvival  2 weeks back

      So...…...a Donkey and a horse are the same species?...……...just blew you up there.

    • Gordon Daniel
      Gordon Daniel  2 weeks back

      I wonder if it's possible they didn't interbreed at all but rather are connected on a family tree. If natural selection happens would not the mutation have essentially the same dna as the parent? I'm not an expert, but I do find it interesting.

  • Ding Dong
    Ding Dong  8 hours back

    I dont belive all the Neanderthals and homosepians breeded together. How many times did they fight against each other. I think homosepians have been around since the Jurassic age.

    • Jackson V
      Jackson V  8 hours back

      Those holes in the top of some of the skulls were evidence that a surgery was performer to get demons out.

      • BlackSuave44
        BlackSuave44  12 hours back

        Am I the only one annoyed by him saying 'Neander TALLS'??

        I'm pretty sure it's OK to include the 'h' in Neanderthals.

        • Piblu
          Piblu  1 days back

          What a funny and delusional claim to make, that there's only one species of sapiens living on this planet today.

          • Feiner Fug
            Feiner Fug  16 hours back

            Piblu, well, do you know of another?

        • MusicIsSoMuchFun Piano

          And that's why some of us can swim in the arctic ocean in winter, while others can run 4:00 miles for a marathon in the heat. The end...

          • Berad Casteel
            Berad Casteel  2 days back

            OOOOORRRRRRRR, evolution!

            • oldcowbb
              oldcowbb  2 days back

              imagine how bad racism will be if other hominin still exist

              • Feiner Fug
                Feiner Fug  16 hours back

                That would be „speciesism“, then :-)

            • zoky Zura
              zoky Zura  2 days back

              Wow this videos tell you so much about whole lot of nothing.

              • ZERO TWO Eto
                ZERO TWO Eto  2 days back

                i am not alone i got my mama

                • Eli Amos
                  Eli Amos  3 days back

                  Neanderthals On Corsica Cool!!

                  • Hero4fun
                    Hero4fun  3 days back

                    I think my neighbour is a neanderthal, he looks exactly like the description from this video. Why should I do? Should I Call the police or capture him myself, show him to the world and win a nobel price?

                    • Craig Banholzer
                      Craig Banholzer  3 days back

                      Is there a reason that the family tree is upside down in this presentation? At first, it seemed to represent two groups integrating in recent times.

                      • Shen Support
                        Shen Support  3 days back

                        I cannot stand when he calls them neandertalls when they are short. It is neanderTHALS not talls.

                        • Tom Fuller
                          Tom Fuller  3 days back

                          PBS could mess up a one naked man parade in a ghost town.

                          • sherman squires
                            sherman squires  3 days back

                            Have we really discovered fossils of Neanderthals? They are found in stone, right?

                            • PRO TACTICS
                              PRO TACTICS  3 days back

                              Is he pronouncing it as Neander-tall haha I cant hear the thal 'f' ....NeanderTHal.. tank you for reading my comment

                              • Skyler Arroniz
                                Skyler Arroniz  3 days back

                                Waite so the neanderthals mated with other humanoids in Siberia so then who are their ancestors. Where they already their or did they migrate?

                                If they where already there then this whole life stared in Africa is not completely correct

                                • Sterling Pickens
                                  Sterling Pickens  4 days back

                                  Which other humanoids/hominins, besides neanderthals and denisovans, did we interbreed with ?
                                  How many different humanoids/hominins lived during the same time as us ? it seems like it's not explored, but "others" is mentioned.

                                  • windeen
                                    windeen  4 days back

                                    I don't get why people sometimes call them: NeanderTAL, when there is an "H" in it.
                                    Why put the ham H there if its silent.

                                  • rationalguy
                                    rationalguy  5 days back

                                    Pretty sure I have perhaps a bit more Neanderthal admixture than many. Northern European. prominent brow ridges. receding chin. Basically a troll.

                                    • Tommy Davies
                                      Tommy Davies  5 days back

                                      we aren't the only ones there is so much complication and congregation and dilemmas all affecting the bigger picture

                                      • Tom Downer
                                        Tom Downer  5 days back

                                        I wonder if, say, the Neanderthals weren't completely wiped out, that we would have still bred with them enough that we'd end up merging our species together?

                                        • J. Brice
                                          J. Brice  5 days back

                                          i thought homo sapiens hunted the Neanderthals to the brink of extinction

                                          • The Skipper
                                            The Skipper  5 days back

                                            He’s dressed like a 7 year old boy on the first day of school.

                                          • PiousMoltar
                                            PiousMoltar  6 days back

                                            "No evidence of violence"
                                            You know what humans are like right? Look at all the wars that have been fought in known history. Now throw another SPECIES of human into the mix. One that seemed to live a hunter gatherer lifestyle. Duh.

                                            • Bodfishblues
                                              Bodfishblues  6 days back

                                              What about Bigfoot?

                                              • A.D.Prayer
                                                A.D.Prayer  6 days back

                                                Do an updated episode about the village of pureblood Neanderthals Fountain deep in Siberia.

                                              • Asian Apparition
                                                Asian Apparition  6 days back

                                                So this is the fault of our most kinky ancestors: Homo Erectus

                                                • Pseudo Pulk
                                                  Pseudo Pulk  6 days back


                                                  • Rafael Galano
                                                    Rafael Galano  6 days back

                                                    What about the Homo Luzonensis found in the Philippines? Uranium dating says it's way older than those early humans from Africa.

                                                    • Devix
                                                      Devix  7 days back

                                                      BTW that Africans have NO DNA from Neanderthals MAY be wrong since we know some homo sapiens actually left Europe and returned to Africa. More research is needed here but there might be populations with Neanderthal DNA in Africa too, just FYI.

                                                      • Joe mama
                                                        Joe mama  7 days back

                                                        I can’t lie I wish time travel was real so I could go back in time and see the first humans

                                                        • gummy gwyn
                                                          gummy gwyn  4 days back

                                                          Just don't sneeze nor cough anywhere near them

                                                      • Ricky All Around Fisherman

                                                        So are we all hybrids?

                                                        • drevni kocur
                                                          drevni kocur  1 weeks back


                                                          • Krixx Set
                                                            Krixx Set  1 weeks back

                                                            Sub-saharan africans contain admixture from ancient hominids not found in any other human population. Given the fact they contain no neanderthal DNA this seriously calls into question the "out of africa hypothesis....

                                                            • Kidddkc 4100
                                                              Kidddkc 4100  1 weeks back

                                                              What about Australia?

                                                              • Sean Wellman
                                                                Sean Wellman  1 weeks back

                                                                What's crazy is if you keep an open eye you'll get all this from every ancient religion and beliefs . Just different names and labels in each religion and beliefs

                                                                • JN_Ghost_Art
                                                                  JN_Ghost_Art  1 weeks back

                                                                  @PBS Eons if breeding with neanderthals kept europeans alive, how did people from africa end up with the same blood clotting ability, and lived on with the same abilities as europeans?

                                                                  • Mr. Mercury
                                                                    Mr. Mercury  1 weeks back

                                                                    So basically Neanderthals were more effective animals but less effective sentient life forms. Gotcha.

                                                                    • R.S. Marcus
                                                                      R.S. Marcus  1 weeks back

                                                                      I wonder if any Denisovan genes exist in the African tribes that have given us the most amazing marathoners and long distance runners? They have a miraculous physical makeup like no other modern humans.

                                                                      • steve154life
                                                                        steve154life  1 weeks back

                                                                        I figured that Neanderthal had a form of art that waz of clothing and jewelry. First time seening a Neanderthal necklace, amazing it haz survived

                                                                        • Chris Ackerley
                                                                          Chris Ackerley  1 weeks back

                                                                          All of us know people who clearly are descended from a more primitive branch of the human tree!

                                                                          • sephirotic87
                                                                            sephirotic87  1 weeks back

                                                                            You keep saying "different species", isn't one of the main definition of species being abe to breed fertile offspring? If neandertal and humans crossbreed than they weren't different species, but different subspecies. This whole video is very confusing in this regard.

                                                                            • sephirotic87
                                                                              sephirotic87  1 weeks back

                                                                              Nevermind, just saw the sticky comment.

                                                                          • Tim Baralis
                                                                            Tim Baralis  1 weeks back

                                                                            There was probably a disease carried by modern homo sapiens that wiped out the neanderthals. After all, when Europeans arrived in North America smallpox decimated the native population of the continent. There were up to 90% death rates involved. It is plausible that could have happened with the neanderthals as well.

                                                                            • sevengance
                                                                              sevengance  1 weeks back

                                                                              So sub Saharan Africans are pure human ???

                                                                              • CAN KILLER
                                                                                CAN KILLER  1 weeks back

                                                                                Hey, I'm from Portugal and I can assure you that there's still some Neanderthals living here 😅

                                                                                • oskey
                                                                                  oskey  1 weeks back

                                                                                  Neanderthals as well as Denisovans were simply assimilated over time given that Homo Sapiens were more numerous.