Neanderthal in the Family

Neanderthal couple
New respect for our relatives

Back off, you Neanderthal! It sounds as if you’ve just been dissed, but maybe you should take it as a compliment. Contrary to common cliches, our Pleistocene relatives were clever, curious, and technologically inventive. Find out how our assessment of Neanderthals has undergone a radical rethinking, and hear about the influence they have as they live on in our DNA. For example, some of their genes have a strong association with severe Covid 19 infection. Plus, how Neanderthal mini-brains grown in a lab will teach us about the evolution of Homo sapiens.


  • Svante Pääbo – Evolutionary geneticist and Director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
  • Doyle Stevick – Associate professor of educational leadership and policies at the University of South Carolina.
  • Beverly Brown – Professor emerita of anthropology, Rockland Community College, New York.
  • Rebecca Wragg Sykes – Paleolithic anthropologist, author of “Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art.”
  • Alysson Muotri – Neuroscientist and professor of pediatrics, cellular and molecular medicine at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine

Originally aired March 22, 2021

Featuring music by Dewey Dellay and Jun Miyake

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