[The researchers] based their conclusion on a computer simulation that represented small bands of Neanderthals and modern humans in Europe and Asia. These local populations were randomly chosen to go extinct, and then be replaced by another randomly chosen population, with no regard for whether it represented the same species.
Neither species was assumed to have any inherent advantage, but there was one crucial difference: Unlike the Neanderthals, the modern humans were supplemented by reinforcements coming in from Africa. It wasn’t a huge wave, but rather “a tiny, tiny trickle of small bands,” Kolodny said.
Still, that was enough to tip the balance against the Neanderthals. They generally went extinct when the simulation was run more than a million times under a variety of assumptions.
If survival was a game of chance, “it was rigged by the fact that there’s recurring migration,” Kolodny said. “The game was doomed to end with the Neanderthals losing.”
Kolodny said the evidence that such migrations actually occurred is suggestive rather than conclusive. Such migrations would not be expected to leave much of an archaeological trace, he said. More.
Hey, Mr. Theory, grab a coffee and join the queue. Many explanations are offered for why Neanderthals “went extinct” (in reality, ceased to exist as a separate group of humans), including intolerance of smoke, and that theory is possibly 27 minutes in the queue with: Neanderthals were inbred, A different theory puts it down to the fact that Neanderthals chewed more. And another one has it that they did not eat enough rabbits. A paleo-psychoanalyst claims they had large eyes and might have been weird loners. And, oh yes, of course, climate change killed them.
Do we have enough episodes for a year’s worth of TV dramas? It might be a worthwhile education project in the right hands. Our common humanity and such.
Note: News posting will be light till this evening due to other deadlines.
See also: Did Neanderthals’ faces help them cope with the Ice Age?
Could Stone Age clubs really kill?An experiment.
A look at earliest human ancestors so far known (350 kya), found in modern-day Morocco Still looking for that definitive missing link.
It turns out Neanderthals were not all that stupid about tools.
Burying the view that Neanderthals were half-wits: “It seems we have all been guilty of defaming Neanderthal man” declared a recent Editorial in The Guardian. This comment was triggered by a report documenting evidence for the use of pigments and decorative shells by Neanderthals.