Many people have Neanderthal genes in their DNA that predispose them to allergies, two studies published Thursday have found.
“So I suppose that some of us can blame Neanderthals for our susceptibility to common allergies, like hay fever,” says Janet Kelso of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, who led one of the teams.
Scientists once thought of Neanderthals as brutish creatures who had little in common with modern humans. But as more evidence turned up, researchers realized Neanderthals were more sophisticated than previously thought and sometimes mated with early Homo sapiens.
Photo: Pierre Andrieu/AFP/Getty Images Caption: Neanderthals, represented here by a museum’s reconstruction, had been living in Eurasia for 200,000 years when Homo sapiens first passed through, and the communities intermingled.