When you think about human evolution, you may think immediately about the fossil record. Although fossils are extremely important parts of the evidence we humans have for understanding our own origins, other vital lines of evidence exist as well:
11 Phylogenetic reconstructions: A phylogenetic reconstruction is essentially a visual representation of the genealogy of a group of species (refer to Chapter 9 for more details). This image can provide insight into where humans fit in the tree of life.
1 Human DNA studies: By looking at our DNA, researchers can get intriguing information about the patterns of migration of Homo sapiens (humans) that help them sort out different hypotheses about where humans originated. They can't get this info just by looking at fossils, which aren't always clear.
1 Neanderthal DNA studies: It's possible now to obtain DNA from one of our closest relatives: the Neanderthals. By comparing modern human DNA with Neanderthal DNA, scientists gain a better understanding of our relationship to this extinct species of hominid.
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