Posts tagged neanderthals
So hard to find my way, now that I’m all on my own. I saw you just the other day, My how you have grown!
Although our species comprises the only humans left alive, our planet was once home to a variety of other human species. The Neanderthals were apparently our closest relatives, and the last of the other human lineages to vanish.
Genetic analysis of this fossil revealed it apparently belonged to a little girl with dark skin, brown hair and brown eyes.
Neanderthals Were Dying Out Before Humans Arrived
Neanderthals in Western Europe started disappearing long before Homo sapiens showed up, suggesting that cold weather, and not cold-hearted humans, might have been responsible for the species’ ultimate demise.
The findings, published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution, suggest that at least one population of Neanderthals was vulnerable to climate change.
Love Dalén, lead author of the paper, told Discovery News that “even if the Neanderthals were capable of surviving periods of extreme cold, the game species they relied on likely could not, so their resource base would have been severely depleted.”
Neanderthals appear to have favored hunting wooly mammoths and other big game. Neanderthals were also big-brained, with the ability to make stone tools, construct garments, control fire and find shelter.
How humans outpaced their relatives remains a mystery, but fossil evidence has left some clues about the scenarios that may have led to the downfall of Neanderthals.
No single smoking gun is likely responsible. But here, we explore some of the factors that contributed to their decline. (Cannibalism may have had something to do with it.)