The ability to take a bone from a Neanderthal who lived tens of thousands of years ago and extract genetic information about that individual boarders on the unbelievable. Yet, if you read Savnte Pääbo’s book, Neanderthal Man: In Search of Lost Genomes, you will find out how such an achievement was made possible. The book provides a well written account of the journey Pääbo and his team took to ensure that our society would be able to learn about our ancient biological relatives — the Neanderthal, and more recently, the Denisovan.

My own genome, according to 23andMe has an estimated 2.8% from the Neanderthal genome — putting me in the 65th percentile. My father has an estimated 3.0%, which puts him in the 87th percentile. Entire DNA composition posted here. Even though I think I will have a low percentage, I hope 23andMe decides to include the Denisovan estimate in the future.