Bachelor of Arts
Neanderthal, Phylogenetic, Hominid evolution
Recently, mtDNA was successfully extracted and sequenced from the Neanderthal type specimen (Krings et al, 1997, 1999). Researches attempted to determine the genetic relationship between the Neanderthal specimen and modem human populations using phylogenetic analysis and concluded that the variation existing between the Neanderthal specimen and the modem lineages falls outside the range of variation of modem human populations. Using molecular mutation rate assumptions, it has been concluded that the Neanderthal line diverged from the line leading to modem humans hundreds of thousands of years previous to earlier estimates. This suggests that Neanderthals went extinct without contributing genes to the lineage of modem humans.
There are many techniques that can be used in the phylogenetic analysis of molecular data. There is much discussion over the merits of individual techniques and which techniques are best suited for different analysis. I will examine these debates within the framework of the Krings et al. studies and late hominid evolution. Similar analysis was done on the Neanderthal sequences using distance and parsimony methods. A unique database of contemporary human sequences was used. The goals are to test the validity of the results published by Krings et al., and to gain a clearer understanding of the processes of phylogenetic analysis and a greater appreciation of the significance and impact of its results on the field of hominid evolution.
Doura, Menahem Baguio, "Phylogenetic Inference and Neanderthal Mitochondrial DNA: Comparison of Parsimony and Distance Models" (2000). Honors Papers. 509.