Much of the Neanderthal genome appears to have gone extinct in that only a small percentage of their genetic trail remains in our DNA. Additionally, human populations are more than the sum of our genes–they are culture and history. Neanderthals as a coherent bio-cultural unit disappeared 40,000 years ago. But yes, their genes live on in us. Though they were an entirely separate species from modern humans, Neanderthals and Denisovans were able to exchange genes with us that survived natural selection over thousands of years of human evolution.

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