How Neanderthal Are You? Your DNA Has the Answer

How Neanderthal Are You? Your DNA Has the Answer

Alice Truong

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Image: 23andMe

In a survival of the fittest, modern humans bested the Neanderthals, who went extinct about 30,000 years ago. But even to this day, we can find traces of these boorish people in our DNA.

A new labs feature from biotech startup 23andMe shows just how Neanderthal you are, anywhere between 1 and 4 percent. (Full disclosure: While I have no stake in 23andMe, my boyfriend is a software engineer at the Mountain View-based company.)

The results can be surprising. If you looked at my hairy boyfriend, the only person whose DNA profile I have access to, you might assume he’s more of a caveman, but in reality I’ve got 0.2 Neanderthal percentage points on him. At 2.7 percent, my DNA ranks me in the 63rd percentile of the unrefined kind.

What are the implications of this finding? Well, the scientific community is figuring it out. It’s still a mystery why Homo sapiens survived over Homo neanderthalensis. By looking at our DNA, scientists can find the most recent evolutionary changes.


Image: 23andMe screenshot

If you’ve spit in a tube for 23andMe to sequence your DNA, you can see how your genes stack up by heading into the Ancestry Labs feature.