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: Seychelles poachers go nutty for erotic shaped seed

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Archaeologists find clues to Neanderthal extinction

Jan 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 ...

Paleo diet didn't change – the climate did

Mar 18, 2014

Why were Neanderthals replaced by anatomically modern humans around 40,000 years ago? One popular hypothesis states that a broader dietary spectrum of modern humans gave them a competitive advantage on Neanderthals. ...

Recommended for you

CPR for South Coast plants

55 minutes ago

Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) Flora Conservation Officer Sarah Barrett and FloraTechnical Officer Dylan Lehmann set up a display at this year's Albany Wildflower Exhibition to explain some of the ...

Autopsies from space: who killed the sea lions?

1 hour ago

A decade ago, we set out to unravel deep ocean crime scenes we weren't even sure existed. The crime? Endangered Steller sea lions were rapidly disappearing in parts of Alaska. Their numbers dropped by 80% in three decades, yet only rarely did anyone see or sample dead sea lions. Live sea lions stu ...

User comments : 0

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.