Thanks to Seth Dobson (Dartmouth C) for the following guest post:
Biological anthropologists regularly tell their the students that the patterning of biological variation among recent human populations does not the fit the expectations of a subspecies level of taxonomic classification. In other words, there are no “races” in a genetic sense. But students are often left wondering what a distinct race of humans might look like. A groundbreaking study in Science suggests that Neandertals may represent the best example of racial variation within Homo sapiens. Green et al. found that the Neandertal genome is more similar to recent humans from Eurasia than to Africans. This implies ancient gene flow between Neandertals and early modern humans expanding out of Africa during the late Pleistocene. Thus, despite clear morphological differences between Neandertals and anatomically modern humans, these two populations were members of the same species because they interbred and produced fertile offspring. If your students want to know what a real race looks like, point to Homo sapiens neanderthalensis.
Additional materials supplementing the Green et al. article are also available through the Science website.