Early Humans Domesticated Themselves, New Genetic Evidence Suggests

A new study — citing genetic evidence from a disorder that in some ways mirrors elements of domestication — suggests modern humans domesticated themselves after they split from their extinct relatives, Neanderthals and Denisovans, approximately 600,000 years ago. “The study is incredibly impressive,” says Richard Wrangham, a biological anthropologist at Harvard University who was not involved in the new work. It’s “a really beautiful test,” he adds, of the long-standing idea that humans look so different from our primate ancestors precisely because we have become domesticated. Domestication encompasses a whole suite of genetic changes that arise as a species is bred to be friendlier and less aggressive.

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