Neanderthal Extinction Occurred Due To Slow Flow Of Human Immigration, Study Says

Posted: Nov 3 2017, 10:52am CDT | by , Updated: Nov 3 2017, 10:58am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
Neanderthal Extinction Occurred Due to Slow Flow of Human Immigration, Study Says
Credit: Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA

Repeated migration of modern humans from Africa into Eurasia may have doomed Neanderthals

The Neanderthal, our closest extinct relatives, disappeared from the surface of Earth about 40,000 years ago, but their cause of extinction remains largely unknown.

Prior researches have shown that populations of Neanderthals were thriving across Europe until early humans showed up from Africa around 45 thousand years ago. The Neanderthals went extinct shortly after the arrival of the early humans in the region.

Researchers have offered a variety of ideas regarding what happened – diseases, competition with modern humans or inability to adapt to climate change are the leading explanations. However, none have come close to being approvable. Now a new study says that no matter what the reason is, the Neanderthals were doomed to go extinct.

Through computer simulations, researchers have concluded that slow but continuous flow of humans from Africa may have outlasted the Neanderthals.

“We suggest that although selection and environmental factors may or may not have played a role in the inter-species dynamics of Neanderthals and modern humans, the eventual replacement of the Neanderthals was determined by the repeated migration of modern humans from Africa into Eurasia.” The study reads.

The local populations were replaced by another population, regardless of their type. Researchers believe that neither species have had any inherent advantage. However, unlike Neanderthal, modern humans were supplemented by multiple waves of migration. Those were not huge waves but the small repeated ones that were strong enough to drive the Neanderthal to extinction.

"It was rigged by the fact that there's recurring migration," said researcher Oren Kolodny from Stanford University. "The game was doomed to end with the Neanderthals losing."

It is not clear yet why modern humans dispersed from Africa into Europe. However, new research could possibly be useful in solving the mystery of Neanderthal extinction.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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