Jumat, 31 Juli 2009

What Happened to the Neandertals?

The cover story of the August 2009 issue of Scientific American discusses the latest evidence and hypotheses for why the archaic humans called the Neandertals disappeared from Europe around 28,000 years ago. Older theories, that the Neandertals either interbred with modern humans or died in wars against them (the love versus war hypotheses), seem to be losing favor. A more recent hypothesis is that there were frequent and rapid changes in climate in Europe at the time, and that modern humans, by virtue of being more advanced in certain ways, were better able to adapt to the changes in weather and food supplies. The article goes on to describe the likely cultural, behavioral, and biological differences between the Neandertals and modern humans who lived in Europe 35,000 years ago, and how these differences might have affected modern humans’ success or the Neandertals’ ultimate failure.

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