According to an article printed in the Stanford University’s School of Earth Sciences magazine, the sexual liaisons between Neanderthals and Homo sapiens thousands of years ago left us humans with a stronger immune system. “This is really the first evidence that there was something functional that was contributed from this admixture that was useful for modern humans,” says Laurent Abi-Rached, a research associate in Parham’s lab and first author on the report in Science. Specifically, the Neanderthal DNA fortifies a class of immune genes called human leukocyte antigens (HLA), which play a vital role in protecting people against viruses and infections.
A mix of immune genes is so essential to our species’ survival, explains the Article, “that people are attracted to the scents of prospective sexual partners with disparate HLA types.” This might explain why Neanderthals and Homo sapiens hooked up in the first place. So the next time you find yourself attracted to some beast of a person, don’t be shy. Go for the immune boosting rewards!