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 Quote by atyy Ok, let me paraphrase to make sure I understand you correctly. If we define organisms as belonging to the same species if they can interbreed, then Neanderthals were not a different species from "ancient" human beings that existed at the same time, since those two groups apparently interbred. So what is the alternative definition of species that the Nature column uses when it says Neanderthals were a different species? Also are modern humans the same species as ancient humans (the ones that coexisted with Neanderthals)?
This is why it is a slippery thing to define, there is no such distinction in nature and our application of the term is not perfect. Getting back to Neanderthals they are actually a subspecies of Homo sapiens hence why their classified as Homo sapiens neanderthalensis