Neanderthal extinction hypothesis offered

May 01, 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: Pollen on birds shows feeding grounds

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The ABC's of animal speech: Not so random after all

1 hour ago

The calls of many animals, from whales to wolves, might contain more language-like structure than previously thought, according to study that raises new questions about the evolutionary origins of human language.

New type of solar concentrator desn't block the view

11 hours ago

(Phys.org) —A team of researchers at Michigan State University has developed a new type of solar concentrator that when placed over a window creates solar energy while allowing people to actually see through ...

Cities, states face off on municipal broadband

11 hours ago

Wilson, N.C., determined nearly a decade ago that high-speed Internet access would be essential to the community's social and economic health in the 21st century, just as electricity, water and sewers were in the previous ...

Recommended for you

Researchers look at small RNA pathways in maize tassels

4 hours ago

Researchers at the University of Delaware and other institutions across the country have been awarded a four-year, $6.5 million National Science Foundation grant to analyze developmental events in maize anthers ...

How plant cell compartments change with cell growth

5 hours ago

A research team led by Kiminori Toyooka from the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science has developed a sophisticated microscopy technique that for the first time captures the detailed movement of ...

Plants can 'switch off' virus DNA

5 hours ago

A team of virologists and plant geneticists at Wageningen UR has demonstrated that when tomato plants contain Ty-1 resistance to the important Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV), parts of the virus DNA ...

A better understanding of cell to cell communication

6 hours ago

Researchers of the ISREC Institute at the School of Life Sciences, EPFL, have deciphered the mechanism whereby some microRNAs are retained in the cell while others are secreted and delivered to neighboring ...

User comments : 0