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Scanning a printout of her ancestry results from a DNA testing company, Peggy Spatz announced that 2.7 percent of her genetic blueprint was handed down from her Neanderthal relatives some 50,000 years ago. That’s right: She’s part Neanderthal, and scientists say so is everyone else whose ancestors originated in Europe and East Asia.
Near the confluence of the American and Sacramento rivers, in a wide valley traversed for many centuries by the native Maidu tribe, John Augustus Sutter in the early 1840s established a trading post which quickly came to serve the Gold Rush. At its heart, the beginnings of Sacramento amounted to the establishment of the...