Were Neanderthals wiped out by icy climate change?

Image credit: University of Northumbria at Newcastle
Image credit: University of Northumbria at Newcastle

About 40,000 years ago, Neanderthals began disappearing from Europe, but exactly why they died out is a mystery.

Researchers propose a new hypothesis this week that suggests our bipedal brethren weren’t equipped to stand a cold spell that accompanied two long periods of extended climate change that took place around the time the species began its decline.

[T]he new palaeoclimate records show that a particularly cold, dry period began about 44,000 years ago and lasted 1,000 years. Another cold dry period began, 40,800 years ago, lasting about 600 years. It was cold enough that average temperatures dropped to below zero, creating year-round permafrost.

Those climate disruptions correspond to the archaeological record, which shows that at the same time Neanderthals began to disappear from the Danube River Valley.

Related article:  Meet Alice Lee, the woman who disproved myths about skull size, sex, intelligence

The double-dose of super-cold weather likely radically changed the environment, transforming the open woodlands of central Europe into Arctic-like steppes.

So why did Neanderthals die out during these climate shifts while modern humans survived? The researchers suggest that because Neanderthals relied heavily on protein from large game animals they had trouble adapting when climate change impacted populations of those animals. Homo sapiens, on the other hand, were more adaptive, eating a variety of plants, fish and meat, meaning they could survive on the cold steppe.

Read full, original post: Climate Change Likely Iced Neanderthals Out Of Existence

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
can you boost your immune system to prevent coronavirus spread x

Video: How to boost your immune system to guard against COVID and other illnesses

Scientists have recently developed ways to measure your immune age. Fortunately, it turns out your immune age can go down ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend