Where the Neanderthal went, we may soon follow

May 10, 2007 at 3:00 am Leave a comment

flowers brazilHere’s an interesting challenge to the grand scientific narrative that the Neanderthals were snuffed out by modern humans. A University of Granada research group, headed by professor Miguel Ortega Huertas, is putting forward a new theory of human ancestry.

In an article published in the scientific journal, Quaternary Science Reviews (available online February 7, 2007), Huertas and his colleagues point the finger at climate change for the extinction of the Neanderthals, who sought refuge in the Iberian Peninsula during the last Ice Age. When weather conditions improved, Neanderthals moved back to Europe. Climate reconstructions helped the researchers to reach the conclusion that a cold, arid and highly variable climate was the least favourable weather for Neanderthals and 24,000 years ago they had to face the worst weather conditions experienced in the last 250,000 years. And so they argue that Neanderthal isolation and extinction was more likely due to a fluctuating and unfavourable climactic situation, not the arrival of Homo Sapiens.

Mmmm…wonder if there’s a lesson in this for our contemporary human race facing impending climate change?


Entry filed under: History.

Historical narratives Tapping into the subconscious

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