When We Met Other Human Species



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:

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29 Responses

  1. PBS Eons says:

    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)

  2. Mingpo Yang says:

    We are hybrids between Neanderthals and hominids.
    Because hominids were several times more numerous. I reckon hominids interbred Neanderthals out.

  3. Arnold Polin says:

    So much history from a few fragments….

  4. Boogaloo Shrimp says:

    Beer and Board Games!

  5. Crazy Supercamel says:

    Why does he say neanderthals like neandertalls…

  6. David Thomas says:

    I consider early humans as survivors of destroyed Atlantis. Sorry about that. It's also conceivable that interbreeding was not necessarily widespread and Neanderthals were considered low class (let's not forget social influences). It's all on file somewhere anyway.

  7. Forlorn Dream says:

    If any of these people had survived into the last few thousand years then we would've wiped them out any number of times. They'd all still be extinct now.

  8. TheDutchHobo says:

    I think we thrived due to warfare and greed, if looking at the events from our recorded history..

  9. Freddie Shreddie says:

    if we are the last of the human species then surely we are becoming extinct ?

  10. miss this says:

    We're all human not dogs. Interbreeding sounds really animalistic. Humans are humans if you can mate with it you are it.

  11. Emily Savva says:

    apparently female neanderthals and early humans did not exist

  12. zizimycat says:

    Don't forget about Sasquatches.

  13. Toruko-ishi Bravo2Zulu says:

    Quality time ? Scraped bones of some found hominin
    suggest we found them delicious. It might account
    for their speedy extinction. As we speed extinction
    today by manipulation of global life conditions. And
    none but us have been prosecuted for cross-species
    mating with non-humans. Nor do we all play well
    with each other. Did I mention the 2019 POTUS ?
    My DNA analysis proves I'm 100% human. People
    with European origins have been linked by DNA to
    non-human bones found in cave graves. Due to a
    consensual or non-consensual mating results.
    Skin color and racial features has no bearing in DNA
    test results. If reader lacks that analysis then what
    you know about yourself is an opinion.

  14. Al Pal says:

    Australian Aborigines have been living in Australia for over 65,000 years. They have 2% Denisovans DNA

  15. immanuel williams says:

    I love the speculating about what happened to the other hominid species… We killed their men and mated with their women, just like we did every other group of humans we encountered. And or put them to work. Ppl think the world was always like it is today- suburbs and the violence conveniently exported where youre not.

  16. Uncle Jun says:

    The virgin neanderthal vs the CHAD Human.

  17. radiomorning says:

    Comment dessiner

  18. Christine Still says:

    About the Denisovans, I keep hearing you say HOMININS” but the word is HominiDS, right?

  19. Stunner 900 says:

    They intermarried with the Neanderthals

  20. acrisox says:

    the background music somehow reminded me of the chernobyl series and somehow that made the whole video way more eerie than its intended XD

  21. Tyrander165 says:

    Humans love to do two things; kill each other and have sex with anything that doesn't make our junk fall off. Saying that there is no evidence we killed neanderthals doesn't mean it didn't happen…a lot.

  22. Michael Crider says:

    It’s also important to remember, one of our more modern genes. Gene Simmons which is obviously where our connection to lizards come from. The tongue is the best clue.

  23. Greg Versace says:

    Homo Floresiensis will be an interesting addition to these studies.

    And at 3 feet tall, they might be a factor in East Asians being shorter.

  24. Chris Ward says:

    I'd like to think that the first coupling between a Neanderthal and modern humans was romantic and loving, but I somehow doubt it based on how tolerant we are
    of differences these days….

  25. aohige says:

    I know it's semantics but I never, ever liked the narrative of "why are we the only ones left" because it is inaccurate. It's obvious that many of these much lesser numerous cousins simply got absorbed into our gene pool. We're not the "only ones left", we're the result of the family tree converging into a single line.

  26. Shane Hesse says:

    I'm sorry, but if copulation results in viable offspring, then isn't that the definition of being members of the same species?

  27. Ed L says:

    This is hateful pseudoscience! We all bleed red! We are all hominins!

  28. raymond laping says:

    neanderthal calves are huge !!!

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