She was linking genes for advanced mental skills to Neanderthals. "I'm confused," I said when she paused for a breath. "You're correlating genes linked to modern human intelligence with Neanderthal populations. What am I missing?"
"You didn't want to hear me, I knew that."
"No, I want to hear you. I just asked a question."
"You don't, because I already told you."
I looked at Beth blankly, realizing I was missing a key part of the puzzle. "You said these were Neanderthal genes?"
"Yes, they were," she said. "They weren't in the modern human genome until Neanderthals interbred with Cro-Magnons between 25,000 and 30,000 years ago."
"Advanced mathematical processing? Shouldn't that have been missing from the Neanderthal genome?"
"No, I found that Neanderthals lacked genes linked to successful socialization and management skills. They could count perfectly well, but they couldn't deal with groups. Socialization genes came from Sapiens"
"You're trying to tell me ..." I said, but my mental censor blocked the idea.
"That human mathematical intelligence came from Neanderthals? That's what the data say. The Cro-Magnons had the social skills. But that isn't all."
I stared at her. I couldn't tell that to the research council.
As usual, she couldn't read the warning look on my face. "The hybridization was successful in the Stone Age, but the environment has changed. I found that modern culture selects for socialization but against the Neanderthal traits for mathematics and intelligence," she said, and looked down. "I don't know how you'll survive when our genes are gone."
Read More at nature.com:
The Neanderthal correlation