Fossil and genetic data suggest that Homo sapiens shared a common ancestor (perhaps the species Homo heidelbergensis) with the closely-related Neanderthals in the Middle Pleistocene.


Extensive genetic data on extant humans show that the greatest diversity and inferred evolutionary time depth lie in Africa, supporting the concept of a recent African origin for Homo sapiens. However, the newly published composite Neanderthal genome suggests there might have been some interbreeding with our Neanderthal relatives in the Middle East about 60,000 years ago, as modern humans dispersed through the region.