Archaeologists find clues to Neanderthal extinction

Jan 16, 2012 By Carol Hughes

(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 Neanderthals. Details of the complex modeling experiments conducted at Arizona State University and the University of Colorado Denver were published in the December issue of the journal Human Ecology.

“To better understand , and especially how human culture and biology co-evolved among hunter-gatherers in the Late Pleistocene of Western Eurasia (ca. 128,000-11,500 years ago) we designed theoretical and methodological frameworks that incorporated feedback across three evolutionary systems: biological, cultural and environmental,” said Michael Barton, a pioneer in the area of archaeological applications of at ASU.

“One scientifically interesting result of this research, which studied culturally and environmentally driven changes in land-use behaviors, is that it shows how could have disappeared not because they were somehow less fit than all other hominins who existed during the last glaciation, but because they were as behaviorally sophisticated as ,” said Barton, who is lead author of the published findings.

The paper “Modeling Human Ecodynamics and Biocultural Interactions in the Late Pleistocene of Western Eurasia” is co-authored by Julien Riel-Salvatore, an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Colorado Denver; John Martin “Marty” Anderies, an associate professor of computational social science  at ASU in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change and the School of Sustainability; and Gabriel Popescu, an anthropology doctoral student in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at ASU.

“It’s been long believed that Neanderthals were outcompeted by fitter modern humans and they could not adapt,” said Riel-Salvatore. “We are changing the main narrative. Neanderthals were just as adaptable and in many ways, simply victims of their own success.”

The interdisciplinary team of researchers used archeological data to track behavioral changes in Western Eurasia over a period of 100,000 years and showed that human mobility increased over time, probably in response to environmental change. According to Barton, the saw hunter-gathers, including both Neanderthals and the ancestors of modern humans, range more widely across Eurasia searching for food during a major shift in the Earth’s climate.

The scientists utilized computer modeling to explore the evolutionary consequences of those changes, including how changes in the movements of Neanderthals and modern humans caused them to interact – and interbreed – more often.

According to Riel-Salvatore, the study offered further evidence that Neanderthals were more flexible and resourceful than previously assumed.

“Neanderthals had proven that they could roll with the punches and when they met the more numerous modern humans, they adapted again,” Riel-Salvatore said. “But modern humans probably saw the Neanderthals as possible mates. As a result, over time, the Neanderthals died out as a physically recognizable population.”

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350
1 / 5 (2) Jan 16, 2012
So they were "blended" out of existence? The article does not do a good job addressing their evidence.
Deathclock
2.3 / 5 (9) Jan 16, 2012
Most things that are said to have "gone extinct" don't all die suddenly but instead evolve slowly over time to a new and distinct form.

As technology overcomes physical barriers and the traditional human races that were established by those barriers begin to interbreed you will see "whites" and "black" and "asians" go "extinct" as the human races merge into one. If teleportation technology ever becomes a reality this will occur very quickly, otherwise it will take quite a while, but it has already begun.
Henrik
1.3 / 5 (21) Jan 16, 2012
It was once thought that Neanderthals were semi-human brutes representing an offshoot in the imaginary human evolution tree, all coming from the elusive missing link. They were consistenly displayed as hairy yeti-like beings in popular literature. Now archeologists uncover more and more evidence that they were simply modern humans with a more robust appearance. Another nail in the coffin of the human evolution tree.
Deathclock
3 / 5 (14) Jan 16, 2012
@Henrik

You have no idea what you are talking about.

First, no paleontologist or archeologist ever thought neanderthals were "yeti-like brutes". You say yourself that they were portrayed that way in popular culture, popular culture has nothing to do with science, popular culture routinely misstates science.

Second, They were not the same as modern humans.

Third, there is no "missing link". What there is is a wealth of incontrovertible evidence indicating that modern great apes and modern man shared a common ancestor. I am sure you couldn't list even a single example of that evidence, since you know nothing about that which you deign to speak.
Djincss
1.3 / 5 (4) Jan 16, 2012
What we have is simply 4%, also it is proven we have took genes for better immune system, maybe they had some diseases that we werent adapted to, anyway my point is that humans that went out of Africa at first were small tribes, there were no any great migrations of lots of sapiences in Europe, we gradually have displaced them, in our history we can see how one group of humans is capable to replace another group, only having some slight advantage, and the gap between humans and neandertals is 500 000 years or something.
Henrik
1.2 / 5 (19) Jan 16, 2012
What there is is a wealth of incontrovertible evidence indicating that modern great apes and modern man shared a common ancestor


No such common ancestor has ever been found. Not even a fingernail. The mysterious ape-like creature that decided to develop language skills, abstract thought and religion, exists only in the minds of the evolutionists.
Jayded
1.2 / 5 (6) Jan 16, 2012
I have always wondered how blue eyes made the appearance in the gene pool. I have read the concepts about how environmental conditions over time created the space for evolutionary adaptations but never really bought into it as the Iniut living in year round ice have never produced a blue eyed child.
In my opinion I would think that perhaps Neanderthals had blue eyes and blonde hair, and was a separate evolved species from our african ancestors. i also think asians are likely a similar separate species.
fact is that no one has any idea and proof is likely never going to be uncovered.
Deathclock
2.9 / 5 (13) Jan 17, 2012
i also think asians are likely a similar separate species.


No. Asians, Africans, Europeans, etc are divergent populations. When man migrated from Africa they traversed geologic barriers that separated them into different populations (a population is a group of organisms that interbreed). Since these populations no longer share the same gene pool (since they don't interbreed) they are subject to separate evolutionary paths. Over time they will become more and more dissimilar. This is the origin of the different races of modern humans. If this was left to continue long enough they may have changed enough so that they could not interbreed if they wanted to, that is speciation, that is how new species come to be. But, with air travel the geographic barriers that prevent the populations from interbreeding are less significant, and interbreeding does occur. If this merging of populations continues then over time all races will become one.
Deathclock
2.8 / 5 (13) Jan 17, 2012
What there is is a wealth of incontrovertible evidence indicating that modern great apes and modern man shared a common ancestor


No such common ancestor has ever been found. Not even a fingernail. The mysterious ape-like creature that decided to develop language skills, abstract thought and religion, exists only in the minds of the evolutionists.


This is simply not true, many common ancestors have been found and there is a mountain of evidence indicating as much. I am sorry you lack the education to understand this and I am sorry I don't care enough about you or what you think to put the effort in to trying to teach you in 1000 words or less at a time.
Sinister1811
1.5 / 5 (8) Jan 17, 2012
It was suggested in one article on this site that Humans and Neanderthals interbred. So that would mean that Humans and Neanderthals are just two branches of the same evolutionary tree. Kind of like Lions and Tigers (amongst various other animals) - animals capable of hybridization. So it's possible that Neanderthals still exist - in each and every one of us.
Henrik
1.4 / 5 (9) Jan 17, 2012
This is simply not true, many common ancestors have been found


Well, then give me an example of what you think is a common ancestor of modern apes and humans.
Gizz47
4.2 / 5 (5) Jan 17, 2012
Oh dear, yet another article tainted by this silliness!

Listen, Henrik. There is no point asking for an example of a common ancestor of modern apes and humans, because you simply do not understand how evolution works and, more to the point, you do not *want* to understand. You would simply turn around and deny all evidence we could furnish you with anyway. I am all for freedom of speech and opinion, and if I thought for one second you were actually interested in learning about evolution, I'm sure the folks here would be more than happy to engage you. But you are just here to goad scientists into arguments for no reason. God told us to be shrewd as the snakes. I suggest you pay attention to him and go read some science books.
Deathclock
2.2 / 5 (10) Jan 17, 2012
This is simply not true, many common ancestors have been found


Well, then give me an example of what you think is a common ancestor of modern apes and humans.


http://en.wikiped...eat_Apes

Any of the species listed here, there are many examples.
Deathclock
2.2 / 5 (10) Jan 17, 2012
Don't like Wiki? That article has over 100 citations, feel free to check them out.
Deathclock
2.7 / 5 (12) Jan 17, 2012
Here is a partial chronological list of all identified species in the evolution of modern humans:

Sahelanthropus Tchadenesis
Orrorin Tugenensis
Ardipithecus Kadabba
Ardipithecus Ramidus
Australopithecus anamensis
Australopithecus afarensis
Australopithecus bahrelghazali
Australopithecus africanus
Australopithecus garhi
Australopithecus sediba
Paranthropus aethiopicus
Paranthropus boisei
Paranthropus robustus
Kenyanthropus platyops
Homo gautengensis
Homo habilis
Homo rudolfensis
Homo ergaster
Homo georgicus
Homo erectus
Homo cepranensis
Homo antecessor
Homo heidelbergensis
Homo rhodesiensis
Homo neanderthalensis
Homo sapiens idaltu
Homo sapiens
Homo sapiens sapiens (modern humans)

Every single one of these species has sufficient fossil and genetic evidence.

You have to be a complete fucking lunatic to think you can discredit the sheer amount of evidence that exists for human evolution, or a religious zealot. It is downright insulting to the people who spend their lives on this work.
Ethelred
2.7 / 5 (7) Jan 17, 2012
No such common ancestor has ever been found.
Maybe. There are several candidates.

This one is genus and it is almost certain that one of the species of the genus an ancestor of Chimps and Humans and Gorillas.
http://en.wikiped...imate%29

All of them show evolution occurred, all are older than you think the wold is, all prove you wrong. Ignorance seems the only defense you have for your position.

Warning about Wikipedia it will being blacking out the English language Wikis for 24 hours as a protest against some rather stupid legislation. Bit of a tempest in a teapot really as the bills are clearly unconstitutional.

http://en.wikiped...Primates

http://en.wikiped...genensis

http://en.wikiped...pithecus

http://news.natio...>>
Ethelred
3.7 / 5 (12) Jan 17, 2012
Not even a fingernail.
Evidence that you are ignorant. Fingernails are unlikely to fossilize.

The mysterious ape-like creature that decided to develop language skills, abstract thought and religion, exists only in the minds of the evolutionists.
Lie. Only in your mind. No scientists think any animal has ever 'decided' to evolve.

Ignorance seems to be your only skill.

Gizz47
But you are just here to goad scientists into arguments for no reason.
So far he has no interest in an actual discussion. He is here to bullshit a controversy that is based on ignorance and a book written long ago by men, that through no fault of their own, unlike him, were completely ignorant of how the world and life actually works.

Ethelred
jsa09
5 / 5 (1) Jan 22, 2012
henrik and kev and 999 do not care whether neanderthal is one of the ancestors of most living modern humans or not. Blended gene pool not withstanding. Any amount of evidence that exists about evolution in general (tens of thousands of volumes) amounts to nothing when it is all ignored.

Neanderthal is no longer running around as a distinct species and that is for sure. They once were running around in Europe. They lived and loved and died over 50,000 years ago. Man migrated to Australia about 50,000 years ago. No Neanderthals appear to have made it that far.

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