During the time they lived in, the Homo neanderthalensis were the most advanced beings. They occupied Europe and some parts of Asia for over 300,000 years. They were gifted as they were able to craft jewelry, tools and cave structures the remains of which we are still finding today. However, something terrible happened in the form of the Homo sapiens. The Neanderthals suddenly disappeared from the face of the Earth.
For years, experts have tried to come up with an answer regarding the fate of those individuals. Was something wrong with them that made them disappear when the humans arrived? Or maybe, humans had a specific advantage that allowed them to strive and survive. Were the Neanderthals more vulnerable to certain diseases? The fact that the humans were smarter and more adaptable maybe helped them? Well, according to a new study which the journal Nature Communications published on Tuesday, humans didn’t have any definitive advantage over the Neanderthals.
Humans weren’t much smarter than the Neanderthals
Oren Kolodny and his colleague, Marc Feldman, have tried to test a basic hypothesis in their paper. What if the disappearance of the Neanderthals didn’t have anything to do with the Homo sapiens? Maybe migration, population dynamics, and even bad timing contributed to their extinction.
It’s interesting that it was a period in history when the Neanderthals and the Homo sapiens lived together, at the same time. For an entire era, they fought each other and surely interbred. However, when the era was over, only one species remained alive.
So, to find the reason behind this, the experts tested the so-called “null hypothesis.” What could have happened without taking into account things like environmental change or natural selection? The basic principle is that two species cannot survive in the same place at the same time. The result was that the Neanderthals weren’t able to keep up with the groups of humans that continued to flow north from Africa. So, without any outside influence such as the environment and the survival of the fittest strategy, the same thing would have happened.
Image source: flickr
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