I thought the idea that humans killed off the Neanderthals was already losing currency. And now a paper published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution casts more doubt on that particular hypothesis.
i09’s Alasdair Wilkins summarizes:
A team of Spanish and Swedish researchers say that new DNA evidence paints a far grimmer view of the state of Neanderthals. Their analysis suggests the Neanderthal population had crashed 50,000 years ago, and a relatively small band of survivors then recolonized central and western Europe before their final end 20,000 years later. In a statement, Love Dalén of the Swedish Museum of Natural History explained what they discovered:
Instead the paper’s authors suggest climate change had a greater impact on neanderthals than previously thought.
Alasdair Wilkins writes: “This also raises the question of just how humans would have really fared against a Neanderthal population at full strength. I’m sensing some pretty serious alternate history fodder here…”
i09: The extinction of Neanderthals had nothing to do with us
Image from New X-Men