Study suggests why Neanderthals vanished

Jan 19, 2006
Neanderthals

A multi-university study argues the disappearance of Neanderthals was not due to competition from modern humans, as is widely believed.

The disappearance of Neanderthals is frequently attributed to modern humans' greater intelligence, making them more efficient as hunters.

But anthropologists from Harvard University, the University of Connecticut, the University of Haifa and Hebrew University argue the hunting practices of Neanderthals and early modern humans were largely indistinguishable.

That conclusion leads to a different hypothesis, also based on archaeological data, to explain the disappearance of the Neanderthals.

"Each population was equally and independently capable of acquiring and exploiting critical information pertaining to animal availability and behavior," write the anthropologists.

The researchers used archaeological data from a Middle- and Upper-Paleolithic rock shelter in the Georgian Republic dated to 60,000-20,000 years ago to contest some prior models of the perceived behavioral and cognitive differences between Neanderthals and modern humans.

The researchers suggest social developments that led to more routine use of distant resources, and a more extensive division of labor, might better explain the disappearance of Neanderthals than simply their hunting practices.

The research appears in the February issue of Current Anthropology.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Feeling bad at work can be a good thing

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Giant tablets aimed at families

37 minutes ago

Costing a little more than an iPad but standing more than twice as tall, a new pair of giant tablets wants families to share cozier group experiences with technology.

Restaurants experimenting with pay-in-advance tickets

2 hours ago

With restaurant patrons increasingly jumping on the Internet to make reservations, some high-end eateries here and across the country are adding a new tech wrinkle: having their clientele pay for their meal in advance using ...

Recommended for you

Feeling bad at work can be a good thing

30 minutes ago

(Phys.org) —Research by the University of Liverpool suggests that, contrary to popular opinion, it can be good to feel bad at work, whilst feeling good in the workplace can also lead to negative outcomes.

3Qs: Citizen journalism in Ferguson

1 hour ago

Tensions have escalated in Ferguson, Missouri, following the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager, by a white police officer. The incident has led to peaceful protests ...

Social inequality worsens in New Zealand

1 hour ago

Research by Dr Lisa Marriott, an associate professor in Victoria's School of Accounting and Commercial Law, and Dr Dalice Sim, Statistical Consultant in the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Operations Research, builds ...

User comments : 0