A simulation reveals the possible main cause of the extinction of Neanderthals

A simulation reveals the possible main cause of the extinction of Neanderthals

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The neanderthals, who inhabited Eurasia for at least 300,000 years, became extinct shortly after 'Homo sapiens' arrived in Europe about 40,000 years ago.

However, so far it is not known what specifically caused the extinction, although three possibilities are considered: climate change, hybridization with modern humans or your inability to compete with them.

Now, an article published in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews assures that this last factor was what wiped Neanderthals from the face of the Earth.

To determine the main cause of the extinction, study author Axel Timmermann of the Institute for Basic Sciences in South Korea (IBS), modeled the environmental conditions of our planet on a supercomputer in a period38,000 to 43,000 years ago.

The simulation includes parameters such as glacier movement, temperature changes, rainfall, and vegetation.

It is presumed that both groups of hominids consumed the same resources and that a small part of them could be crossed.

The results of the simulation: the main cause of the extinction of Neanderthals

After analyzing the model, Timmerman discovered that the only realistic extinction scenario requires that 'Homo sapiens' have significant advantages with respect to exploitation of food resources., which would place it in the leading cause of Neanderthal extinction.

Although the simulation does not clarify what those advantages consisted of —Modern-type humans probably hunted better, were more resistant to pathogens, or were more fertile — their significance is that 'this is the first time we can quantify the drivers of extinction«, Quotes a statement from the IBS to Timmermann.

«Neanderthals lived in Eurasia for the last 300,000 years and experienced and adapted to abrupt climate changes more dramatic than those that occurred during their disappearance. It is not a coincidence that Neanderthals became extinct just as 'Homo sapiens' began to spread into Europe. New computer model simulations clearly show that this event was the first major extinction caused by our species.«Said the researcher.

Video: Neanderthals on the move: An agent-based modeling approach to simulate Neanderthal migration