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For some time, scientists have debated whether Neanderthals should be classified as Homo neanderthalensis or Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, the latter placing Neanderthals as a subspecies of Homo sapiens. Some morphological studies support the view that Homo neanderthalensis is a separate species and not a subspecies.

Is there any conclusion about Neanderthals?

And about their extinction, is there a theory which is accepted?

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closed as off topic by Russell, choster, DVK, Steven Drennon Jan 22 '13 at 18:07

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I know there is a project to sequence Neanderthals DNA –  aceinthehole Jan 21 '13 at 22:27
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So you simply ask: if a neanderthal and a homo sapiens sapiens had a baby, was it capable of further reproduction or not? I'm afraid it's off-topic on history SE. –  kubanczyk Jan 21 '13 at 23:14
    
Perhaps biology.stackexchange.com would be a better fit. –  lins314159 Jan 22 '13 at 0:05
    
@kubanczyk My question is if finally the scientists have accepted the Neanderthals as a separate species and about the extinction theories, is there one that is accepted finally or not yet. –  Ioanna Jan 22 '13 at 16:05
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1 Answer 1

Maybe; it depends a lot on how you define "species".

A 'species' is generally understood as population where the all males and females can mate to produce fertile offspring -- at the very least, for large mammals. So for example, horses and donkeys can be mated, but mules (each the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse) are not fertile. However there are exceptions. For example, lions and tigers are certainly considered different species, but ligers (each the offspring of a male lion and a female tiger) are fertile in some pairings.

As for humans and neanderthals then (and as mentioned previously,)humans and neanderthals did likely interbreed. But currently, we know neither about the frequency with which this occurred (in any great detail), nor the fertility of resulting offspring.

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For what it's worth, a study that casted some doubt on whether humans and Neanderthal interbreeded gained a lot of coverage last year. –  Drux Jan 22 '13 at 8:25
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