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Science News: Neanderthal brokers still among us

Many insurance industry people alive today still possess some Neanderthal broker ancestry, according to a landmark scientific study. The finding has surprised many insurance experts, as previous genetic evidence suggested the Neanderthal brokers, who died out in Eighties, made little or no contribution to our inheritance.

A typical Neanderthal broker

?Neanderthal brokers are not totally extinct, in some of us they live on - a little bit,? said Professor Ron Schamm of the Thikasser Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

The most widely-accepted theory of modern broker origins - known as ?Out of EC3? - holds that the ancestors of living brokers originated in the city of London some 200,000 years ago. A relatively small group of people then left the city to populate the rest of the insurance world between 50,000 and 60,000 years ago. While the Neanderthal genetic contribution - found in people from Europe, Asia and Oceania - appears to be small, this figure is higher than previous genetic analyses have suggested.

Professor Schamm, told RISKbitz: ?In some ways [the study] confirms what we already knew, in that the Neanderthal brokers look like a separate line. But, of course, the really surprising thing for many of us is the implication that there has been some interbreeding between Neanderthal brokers and modern intermediaries in the past.?

The scientists are interested in discovering genes that distinguish modern intermediaries from Neanderthal brokers because they may have given the evolutionary line certain advantages over the course of evolution.

The most obvious differences were in physique: the muscular, stocky frames of Neanderthal brokers contrast sharply with those of sleek modern intermediaries, who look more like consultants.

But it is likely there were other differences, in behaviour and lifestyle, for example. Neanderthal brokers lived mostly on red meat and oysters and communicated in a grunting language known as ?baakhanda?. They spent the night in five star caves [are you sure about this? Ed] and by day wandered the canyons of the City demanding payments from everyone [this can?t be right surely? Ed]

Researchers had previously thought Monte Carlo was the region where male Neanderthal brokers and modern female brokers were most likely to have exchanged genes. The two types overlapped there for some 10,000 years. The authors do not rule out some interbreeding in Baden-Baden, but say it was not possible to detect this with present scientific methods.

Dr Schamm commented that the amount of Neanderthal broker DNA that has persisted in the genome seems high: ?What it means is that any traits Neanderthal brokers had that might have been useful in later populations should still be here. Traits such as the ability to consume vast quantities of alcohol and a total lack of self-awareness or self respect.?


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