When We Met Other Human Species

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  • Published: 10 July 2019
  • 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: 252mya.com/

    Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios: superiorjanitorial.pro/user/pbsdigitalstudios

    Super special thanks to the following Patreon patrons for helping make Eons possible:
    Katie Fichtner, Anthony Callaghan, MissyElliottSmith, The Scintillating Spencer, AA, Zachary Spencer, Stefan Weber, Ilya Murashov, Charles Kahle, Robert Amling, Po Foon Kwong, Larry Wilson, Merri Snaidman, John Vanek, Neil H. Gray, Esmeralda Rupp-Spangle, Gregory Donovan, الخليفي سلطان, Gabriel Cortez, Marcus Lejon, Robert Arévalo, Robert Hill, Todd Dittman, Betsy Radley, PS, Philip Slingerland, Jose Garcia, Eric Vonk, Tony Wamsley, Henrik Peteri, Jonathan Wright, Jon Monteiro, James Bording, Brad Nicholls, Miles Chaston, Michael McClellan, Jeff Graham, Maria Humphrey, Nathan Paskett, Connor Jensen, Daisuke Goto, Hubert Rady, Gregory Kintz, Tyson Cleary, Chandler Bass, Joao Ascensao, Tsee Lee, Sarah Fritts, Alex Yan

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    References: docs.google.com/document/d/1h8iVAIugVPfxOcCZKeZxtZfa6mNP8V7xMhS_vxmDRl0/edit?usp=sharing
  • Science and Technology Science and Technology

Comments • 5 439

  • PBS Eons
    PBS Eons   2 months back

    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)

    • rh1507
      rh1507  1 weeks back

      It seems illogical that our species could successfully breed with a different biped species. Of course there are several variations of our species but we are all of the same species.

    • Adela Hogarth
      Adela Hogarth  1 weeks back

      They weren't different species.

      I'm a reptile handler enthusiast in Australia and there's perfect examples of one species looking so radically different, with vastly different hunting strategies, egg-clutching behaviour, and general size and appearance ... and yet they're the same species.

      The common carpet python and the diamond python.

      Both of them morelia spilota...


      Their personalities, colouration, hunting strategies, and even their average clutch sizes are wildly divergent.

      Both of them interbreed and produce fertile young. Both of them produce hybrids. That being said, in the wild they had become geographically locked into different environments with the Holocene epoch, and over thousands of generations have become very different looking and behaviourally incongruent subspecies of the whole.

      And these differences are worlds apart on their own, just not enough to create two distinct species.

      Another common example? Dogs. All of them have been carefully bred and undertaken significant animal husbandry that you can have dogs the size of your hand, to dogs that weigh as much as a person. Still the same species.

    • ChickenFish
      ChickenFish  2 weeks back

      @Olav big cats can breed even hybrid ones male or female.theyre are more likely to be sterile.thats all. and species is a word used to describe compatible breeders. if 2 things can breed they are the same species

    • EastTexassurvival
      EastTexassurvival  2 weeks back

      So...…...a Donkey and a horse are the same species?...……...just blew you up there.

    • Gordon Daniel
      Gordon Daniel  2 weeks back

      I wonder if it's possible they didn't interbreed at all but rather are connected on a family tree. If natural selection happens would not the mutation have essentially the same dna as the parent? I'm not an expert, but I do find it interesting.

  • Piblu
    Piblu  12 hours back

    What a funny and delusional claim to make, that there's only one species of sapiens living on this planet today.

    • Feiner Fug
      Feiner Fug  4 hours back

      Piblu, well, do you know of another?

  • MusicIsSoMuchFun Piano
    MusicIsSoMuchFun Piano  22 hours back

    And that's why some of us can swim in the arctic ocean in winter, while others can run 4:00 miles for a marathon in the heat. The end...

    • Berad Casteel
      Berad Casteel  1 days back

      OOOOORRRRRRRR, evolution!

      • oldcowbb
        oldcowbb  2 days back

        imagine how bad racism will be if other hominin still exist

        • Feiner Fug
          Feiner Fug  4 hours back

          That would be „speciesism“, then :-)

      • zoky Zura
        zoky Zura  2 days back

        Wow this videos tell you so much about whole lot of nothing.

        • ZERO TWO Eto
          ZERO TWO Eto  2 days back

          i am not alone i got my mama

          • Eli Amos
            Eli Amos  2 days back

            Neanderthals On Corsica Cool!!

            • Hero4fun
              Hero4fun  2 days back

              I think my neighbour is a neanderthal, he looks exactly like the description from this video. Why should I do? Should I Call the police or capture him myself, show him to the world and win a nobel price?

              • Craig Banholzer
                Craig Banholzer  2 days back

                Is there a reason that the family tree is upside down in this presentation? At first, it seemed to represent two groups integrating in recent times.

                • Shen Support
                  Shen Support  2 days back

                  I cannot stand when he calls them neandertalls when they are short. It is neanderTHALS not talls.

                  • Tom Fuller
                    Tom Fuller  2 days back

                    PBS could mess up a one naked man parade in a ghost town.

                    • sherman squires
                      sherman squires  2 days back

                      Have we really discovered fossils of Neanderthals? They are found in stone, right?

                      • PRO TACTICS
                        PRO TACTICS  2 days back

                        Is he pronouncing it as Neander-tall haha I cant hear the thal 'f' ....NeanderTHal.. tank you for reading my comment

                        • Skyler Arroniz
                          Skyler Arroniz  3 days back

                          Waite so the neanderthals mated with other humanoids in Siberia so then who are their ancestors. Where they already their or did they migrate?

                          If they where already there then this whole life stared in Africa is not completely correct

                          • Sterling Pickens
                            Sterling Pickens  3 days back

                            Which other humanoids/hominins, besides neanderthals and denisovans, did we interbreed with ?
                            How many different humanoids/hominins lived during the same time as us ? it seems like it's not explored, but "others" is mentioned.

                            • windeen
                              windeen  3 days back

                              I don't get why people sometimes call them: NeanderTAL, when there is an "H" in it.
                              Why put the ham H there if its silent.

                            • rationalguy
                              rationalguy  4 days back

                              Pretty sure I have perhaps a bit more Neanderthal admixture than many. Northern European. prominent brow ridges. receding chin. Basically a troll.

                              • Tommy Davies
                                Tommy Davies  4 days back

                                we aren't the only ones there is so much complication and congregation and dilemmas all affecting the bigger picture

                                • Tom Downer
                                  Tom Downer  5 days back

                                  I wonder if, say, the Neanderthals weren't completely wiped out, that we would have still bred with them enough that we'd end up merging our species together?

                                  • J. Brice
                                    J. Brice  5 days back

                                    i thought homo sapiens hunted the Neanderthals to the brink of extinction

                                    • The Skipper
                                      The Skipper  5 days back

                                      He’s dressed like a 7 year old boy on the first day of school.

                                    • PiousMoltar
                                      PiousMoltar  5 days back

                                      "No evidence of violence"
                                      You know what humans are like right? Look at all the wars that have been fought in known history. Now throw another SPECIES of human into the mix. One that seemed to live a hunter gatherer lifestyle. Duh.

                                      • Bodfishblues
                                        Bodfishblues  5 days back

                                        What about Bigfoot?

                                        • A.D.Prayer
                                          A.D.Prayer  5 days back

                                          Do an updated episode about the village of pureblood Neanderthals Fountain deep in Siberia.

                                        • Asian Apparition
                                          Asian Apparition  6 days back

                                          So this is the fault of our most kinky ancestors: Homo Erectus

                                          • Pseudo Pulk
                                            Pseudo Pulk  6 days back

                                            Otacon!

                                            • Rafael Galano
                                              Rafael Galano  6 days back

                                              What about the Homo Luzonensis found in the Philippines? Uranium dating says it's way older than those early humans from Africa.

                                              • Devix
                                                Devix  6 days back

                                                BTW that Africans have NO DNA from Neanderthals MAY be wrong since we know some homo sapiens actually left Europe and returned to Africa. More research is needed here but there might be populations with Neanderthal DNA in Africa too, just FYI.

                                                • Joe mama
                                                  Joe mama  6 days back

                                                  I can’t lie I wish time travel was real so I could go back in time and see the first humans

                                                  • gummy gwyn
                                                    gummy gwyn  4 days back

                                                    Just don't sneeze nor cough anywhere near them

                                                • Ricky All Around Fisherman

                                                  So are we all hybrids?

                                                  • drevni kocur
                                                    drevni kocur  1 weeks back

                                                    Hominins

                                                    • Krixx Set
                                                      Krixx Set  1 weeks back

                                                      Sub-saharan africans contain admixture from ancient hominids not found in any other human population. Given the fact they contain no neanderthal DNA this seriously calls into question the "out of africa hypothesis....

                                                      • Kidddkc 4100
                                                        Kidddkc 4100  1 weeks back

                                                        What about Australia?

                                                        • Sean Wellman
                                                          Sean Wellman  1 weeks back

                                                          What's crazy is if you keep an open eye you'll get all this from every ancient religion and beliefs . Just different names and labels in each religion and beliefs

                                                          • JN_Ghost_Art
                                                            JN_Ghost_Art  1 weeks back

                                                            @PBS Eons if breeding with neanderthals kept europeans alive, how did people from africa end up with the same blood clotting ability, and lived on with the same abilities as europeans?

                                                            • Mr. Mercury
                                                              Mr. Mercury  1 weeks back

                                                              So basically Neanderthals were more effective animals but less effective sentient life forms. Gotcha.

                                                              • R.S. Marcus
                                                                R.S. Marcus  1 weeks back

                                                                I wonder if any Denisovan genes exist in the African tribes that have given us the most amazing marathoners and long distance runners? They have a miraculous physical makeup like no other modern humans.

                                                                • steve154life
                                                                  steve154life  1 weeks back

                                                                  I figured that Neanderthal had a form of art that waz of clothing and jewelry. First time seening a Neanderthal necklace, amazing it haz survived

                                                                  • Chris Ackerley
                                                                    Chris Ackerley  1 weeks back

                                                                    All of us know people who clearly are descended from a more primitive branch of the human tree!

                                                                    • sephirotic87
                                                                      sephirotic87  1 weeks back

                                                                      You keep saying "different species", isn't one of the main definition of species being abe to breed fertile offspring? If neandertal and humans crossbreed than they weren't different species, but different subspecies. This whole video is very confusing in this regard.

                                                                      • sephirotic87
                                                                        sephirotic87  1 weeks back

                                                                        Nevermind, just saw the sticky comment.

                                                                    • Tim Baralis
                                                                      Tim Baralis  1 weeks back

                                                                      There was probably a disease carried by modern homo sapiens that wiped out the neanderthals. After all, when Europeans arrived in North America smallpox decimated the native population of the continent. There were up to 90% death rates involved. It is plausible that could have happened with the neanderthals as well.

                                                                      • sevengance
                                                                        sevengance  1 weeks back

                                                                        So sub Saharan Africans are pure human ???

                                                                        • CAN KILLER
                                                                          CAN KILLER  1 weeks back

                                                                          Hey, I'm from Portugal and I can assure you that there's still some Neanderthals living here 😅

                                                                          • oskey
                                                                            oskey  1 weeks back

                                                                            Neanderthals as well as Denisovans were simply assimilated over time given that Homo Sapiens were more numerous.

                                                                            • Kakhi Sanikidze
                                                                              Kakhi Sanikidze  1 weeks back

                                                                              For a second I thought what it would be like if there were different species of humans on earth today but I quickly gave up. We are all humans inhabiting this planet but people still don’t treat each other equally because of racial differences.

                                                                              • SFjarhead
                                                                                SFjarhead  1 weeks back

                                                                                I am asking this question out of total ignorance and I apologize if it comes across confrontational or racists, as that is not my intent...
                                                                                I see a lot of videos trying to explain the origin of "Species" and explanations for genes existing or not existing, but I haven't seen anything objectively scientific to explain the origin of "Race". Let's face it, what we call "race" does have its differences, how are scientists addresses the origins of those differences?

                                                                                • Michael Maddox
                                                                                  Michael Maddox  2 weeks back

                                                                                  They were killed and chose/forced to breed with us more often. We were probably more sexually desirable and in some cases they just lost the war because of the lack of numbers. (my guess)