Neanderthals' Disappearance Gets More Mysterious
2007 09 13

By Jeanna Bryner | livescience.com


Comparison between Neanderthal and modern human skeletons. Photo: K. Mowbray, Reconstruction: G. Sawyer and B. Maley, Copyright: Ian Tattersall
Stocky and well-suited for the cold, Neanderthals once dotted the plains of Europe and western Asia before vanishing from Earth more than 20,000 years ago.

The mystery of what caused their demise has baffled scientists for decades, with one theory stating our hominid cousins failed to survive a big ice age that Homo sapiens apparently endured. New research rejects that thinking.

A study published in the Sept. 13 issue of the journal Nature suggests abrupt global cooling was not the final calamity that wiped out Neanderthals. The study does not, however, offer any direct clues about what did finally kill off the Neanderthals.

"Our findings suggest that there was no single climatic event that caused the extinction of the Neanderthals," said study team member Katerina Harvati, a paleo-anthropologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany.

The Neanderthals lived as far back as 230,000 years ago, disappearing from the fossil record a few thousand years after modern humans appeared on the scene. But several scientific uncertainties have made it difficult for scientists to blame climate or modern humans for the extinction.

For instance, measurements of carbon isotopes have become a standard way of dating sediments and artifacts. However, the results give scientists a so-called radiocarbon date, which is based on the amount of time it takes radiocarbon to decay once an organism dies. Converting the radiocarbon number into calendar years is tricky and imprecise, the researchers say.

So team member Chronis Tzedakis of the University of Leeds and his colleagues realized they didn't need an actual calendar date. They devised a way to correlate estimates of dates for the Neanderthal demise with past climate records.

They applied the method to three dates proposed for Neanderthal extinction gleaned from artifacts preserved in Gorham's cave in Gibraltar, Spain, a site thought to have been occupied by some of the last surviving Neanderthals.

The dates include two fairly well-accepted estimates of the timing of their demise—32,000 to 30,000 radiocarbon years ago and around 28,000 radiocarbon years ago—as well as a more contentious estimate of around 24,000 radiocarbon years ago.

The team found the first two dates did not correspond with any extreme, abrupt climate events. The youngest and more controversial, radiocarbon estimate fell onto the paleoclimate record during a period just before the expansion of ice sheets and the onset of cold conditions in northern Europe, so the timing is not quite right. And the authors say that climate event was a 1,000-year gradual transition anyway, rather than an "instant ice-age."

"We're saying there is no abrupt, cold extreme event that correlates with any of those dates," said study team member Konrad Hughen of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.

Article from: http://www.livescience.com/health/070912_neanderthal_demise.html



Related Articles
Researchers may remake Neanderthal DNA
History Of Humans Unravels As Scholar Exposed As Fraud
Subtle Bodies - Manipulating the Mind of Man
Red Ice Creations Radio - Lloyd Pye - Human Origins, Intervention Theory & Genetic Experimentation
Red Ice Creations Radio - Lloyd Pye - The Starchild Skull (Subscription)
The Hermetic Universe


Latest News from our Front Page

Kansas City Jewish Community Center shooter: “I was an FBI Informant”
2014 04 24
Kansas City Jewish Community Center shooter: “I was an FBI Informant” …… Which is EXACTLY how we called it when this story broke a few weeks back. We also mentioned that the SPLC, just discarded from the FBI “hate” website… Would be the prime benefactor. Ex-KKK Leader Was Given a New Identity Years Before Shooting Glenn Miller Claims He Was an FBI Informant by ...
Meet AISight – The Artificial Intelligence Software Being Installed on CCTV Networks Globally
2014 04 24
If you thought that CCTV cameras tracking your every move in public was bad enough, you’re going to just love AISight (pronounced “eyesight” of course). The invention of a Houston, Texas based company called BRS Labs (which stands for Behavioral Recognition Systems) is headed by former secret service special agent John Frazzini, and this Orwellian surveillance platform brings artificial intelligence ...
Biofuel Made From Corn Waste Less ‘Green’ Than Gasoline
2014 04 24
Biofuel created from corn waste may not be the clean, eco-friendly oil alternative the United States government is hoping for. A new study has found that fuel generated from harvested corn leftovers creates more greenhouse gases than conventional gasoline — at least in the short term. The fuel under study, called cellulosic ethanol, has been touted in recent years as a ...
Swedes open coffin of 850-year-old king
2014 04 24
Scientists pried open the 850-year-old casket of King Erik the Holy on Wednesday, hoping to find out more about the king, his crown, and his eating habits. "This was a very special occasion, especially considering the importance of Saint Erik religiously in Sweden," Uppsala Cathedral Chaplain Lars Åstrand told The Local. The casket contained the bones of King ...
John Kerry and the Pope set to face off with Jewish Knight Templars on the Temple Mount
2014 04 24
This is the week that supposedly spells the end of the peace process or its end. My money is on a continuation that has no real substance or direction. What’s the alternative? With Passover and Easter over, Secretary Kerry can return to the Middle East crisis. This, after dealing so successfully with crisis in the Ukraine. [Is the author joking? - RIC] With ...
More News »