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The study, published in the science journal PLOS ONE, compared the genomes of modern humans to those of several domesticated species and their wild animal type, in order to look for overlapping genes that were associated with domestication traits, such as docility or a gracile physiognomy. The results showed a statistically significant number of genes associated with domestication which overlapped between domestic animals and modern humans, but not with their wild equals, like Neanderthals.
According to the researchers, these results reinforce the human self-domestication hypothesis and "help to shed light on one aspect that makes us human, our social instinct."
Self-domestication - Species - Features - Animals - Comparison
Self-domestication would occur in species that display anatomical and behavioural features which are typical of domestic animals in comparison to their wild types. However, in these cases, domestication would have taken place without any other species domesticating the others. Several studies proposed the hypothesis stating that humans -and other species such as bonobos- domesticated themselves. The aim of this study was to find out biological evidence of the self-domestication by looking at a new type of data that has become available: the genomes of our extinct relatives, such as Neanderthals or Denisovans.
"One reason that made scientists claim that humans are self-domesticated lied within our behavior: modern humans are docile and tolerant, like domesticated species, our cooperative abilities and pro-social behaviour are key features of our modern cognition," says Cedric Boeckx. "The second reason is that modern humans, when compared to Neanderthals, present a more gracile phenotype that resembles the one seen in domesticates when compared to their wild-type cousins," added the expert.
Signs - Process - Humans - Researchers - List
To identify signs of a self-domestication process in humans, researchers made a list of...
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