Nicholas Wade of the New York Times reports, "Neanderthals mated with some modern humans after all and left their imprint in the human genome, a team of biologists has reported in the first detailed analysis of the Neanderthal genetic sequence." Scientist have been examining Neanderthal bones in hopes to recover the entire Neanderthal genome, of which they have recovered 60 percent. They want to find how humans evolved after the two species split 600,000 years ago. Wade states, "So far, the team has identified only about 100 genes — surprisingly few — that have contributed to the evolution of modern humans since the split. The nature of the genes in humans that differ from those of Neanderthals is of particular interest because they bear on what it means to be human, or at least not Neanderthal. Some of the genes seem to be involved in cognitive function and others in bone structure." According to the article the Neanderthal genome had little effect on human evolution. However, it's interesting that "about 1 percent to 4 percent of the genome of non-Africans today is derived from Neanderthals."
This is interesting to me because from what I've learned, very little is known about Neanderthals and if I'm not mistaken, they were thought to have virtually disappeared around the time homo-sapiens (you and me) became prominent. Reading that they may have mixed genes with early humans makes me rethink what I've learned.