The Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans once lived together in parts of Eurasia during the Pleistocene. Encounters between the two species often resulted in several episodes of interbreeding. Evidence of these encounters in the fossil record is contained in several remains found throughout Eurasia.
These finds date back to roughly 65,000 to 47,000 years ago, when human migrations out of Africa were at their most frequent. Even today, there is some percentage of Neanderthal DNA contained in non-African ethnic groups. While there is plenty of evidence of Neanderthal DNA in sapiens individuals, there are hardly any fossils that point to things happening the other way around. But a recent discovery might reveal sapiens DNA in the fossil of a Neanderthal woman.
This isolated find dates back to around 50,000 years ago and hails from Siberia’s Altai Mountains. It is the toe bone of a woman from the well-known Denisova Cave, an incredible genetic graveyard that has been taking scientists by surprise for many years. This location also revealed remains of the mysterious Denisovans, a genetic group within Homo, whose exact relationships are still hotly contested.