October 06, 2006

What makes us different

Time has a nice long article about what differentiates humans from other animals. An interesting tidbit:
And sometime in the next few weeks, a team led by molecular geneticist Svante Pääbo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, in Leipzig, Germany, will announce an even more stunning achievement: the sequencing of a significant fraction of the genome of Neanderthals--the human-like species we picture when we hear the word caveman--who are far closer to us genetically than chimps are. And though Neanderthals became extinct tens of thousands of years ago, Pääbo is convinced he's on the way to reconstructing the entire genome of that long-lost relative, using DNA extracted, against all odds, from a 38,000-year-old bone.

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