Neanderthal genes could explain the shape of our skulls, study determines

( CNN) Humans have unusually globular( or round) skulls and brains compared against our ancient ancestors — including our closest extinct cousins the Neanderthals — and a new study provides a possible rationale as to why.

“Billions of people living today carry a small fraction of Neanderthal genes in their genome — a remote echo of admixture when our ancestors left Africa and encountered Neanderthals, ” said study writer Philipp Gunz, a paleoanthropologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, via email.

These are typically humen with European ancestry stemming from interbreeding between Neanderthals and modern Europeans.

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