A new research paper released today in PLoS Genetics says both studies may have gotten it wrong. They suggest that contamination might have screwed up Green's study, making it appear that there was a lot more admixture between the two hominids than there actually was. On the other hand, evidence from other studies make it seem likely that there was at least some mixing between human and Neanderthal, and that we have inherited some traits from those hairy, European hominids with the big foreheads who died out about 40 thousand years ago. You should expect to see more controversy coming out of Neanderthal DNA sequencing projects in coming months. People never cease to be fascinated by the idea that at one time there were two hominid populations living side-by-side in Europe — and that fascination fuels research grants. Image by Frank Franklin II for AP.

Inconsistencies in Neanderthal Genomic DNA Sequences [PLoS Genetics]