Neanderthal extinction hypothesis offered

May 1, 2007

A Spanish study suggests climate changes might have caused the extinction of the Neanderthals on the Iberian Peninsula.

The University of Granada study of Gorham's cave on Gibraltar shows the Neanderthal extinction could have been determined by environmental and climate changes, and not by competitiveness with modern humans.

Professor Miguel Ortega Huertas, who led the research, said the findings of the multi-disciplinary research are an important contribution to the understanding of the Neanderthal extinction and the colonization of the European continent by Homo sapiens.

The study -- based on climate reconstructions -- suggests Neanderthal populations suffered fluctuations related to climate changes before the first Homo sapiens arrived on the Iberian Peninsula. The study found Neanderthals, 24,000 years ago, had to face the worst weather conditions of the last 250,000 years.

Huertas said the most important finding is that the data differ from the current scientific paradigm that makes Homo sapiens responsible for the Neanderthal extinction.

The research that included Francisco Jose Jimenez Espejo, Francisca Martínez Ruiz and David Gallego Torres, along with scientists from the Gibraltar Museum, Stanford University and the Japan Marine Science & Technology Center, recently appeared in the Quaternary Science Reviews journal.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Did prehistoric humans shape today's ecosystems?

Related Stories

Stone tools from Jordan point to dawn of division of labor

June 12, 2015

Thousands of stone tools from the early Upper Paleolithic, unearthed from a cave in Jordan, reveal clues about how humans may have started organizing into more complex social groups by planning tasks and specializing in different ...

What rabbits can tell us about Neanderthal extinction?

June 9, 2015

When thinking about the extinction of Neanderthals some 30,000 years ago, rabbits may not be the first thing that spring to mind. But the way rabbits were hunted and eaten by Neanderthals and modern humans – or not, as ...

Archaeologists find clues to Neanderthal extinction

January 16, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- Computational modeling that examines evidence of how hominin groups evolved culturally and biologically in response to climate change during the last Ice Age also bears new insights into the extinction of ...

The Neanderthal dawn chorus

May 21, 2015

A new study focusing on the birds of the Ice Age has shed light on the long term response of birds to climate change.

Recommended for you

New nanomaterial maintains conductivity in 3-D

September 4, 2015

An international team of scientists has developed what may be the first one-step process for making seamless carbon-based nanomaterials that possess superior thermal, electrical and mechanical properties in three dimensions.

Secrets of a heat-loving microbe unlocked

September 4, 2015

Scientists studying how a heat-loving microbe transfers its DNA from one generation to the next say it could further our understanding of an extraordinary superbug.

Plants also suffer from stress

September 4, 2015

High salt in soil dramatically stresses plant biology and reduces the growth and yield of crops. Now researchers have found specific proteins that allow plants to grow better under salt stress, and may help breed future generations ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.