Biology Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for biology researchers, academics, and students. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

There is increasing evidence (e.g. here) that Homo sapiens interbred with contemporary homonins such as Homo neanderthalensis and the "Denisovans". Although these homonins do show differences in their mtDNA, since a species is generally defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing viable offspring, should we not regard humans, neanderthals and denisovans as the same species and name them as such?

share|improve this question

This question highlights the different species concepts.

If you go by the reproductive species concept (a population of actually or potentially interbreeding organisms), then yes. Apparently, the populations were interbreeding.

If you go by the typological species concept (morphologically distinct), then no. Homo neandertalensis and the "Denosovian" are morphologically distinct enough to be recognized as such.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.