Monday, May 07, 2007

Neanderthal update
Climate Change, Not Humans, Trounced Neanderthals

Neanderthals disappeared from Earth more than 20,000 years ago, but figuring out why continues to challenge anthropologists. One team of scientists, however, now says they have evidence to back climate change as the main culprit.

The Iberian Peninsula, better known as present-day Spain and Portugal, was one of the last Neanderthal refuges. Many scientists have thought that out-hunting by Homo sapiens and interbreeding with them brought Neanderthals to their demise, but climate change has also been proposed.

Francisco JimĂ©nez-Espejo, a paleoclimatologist at the University of Granada in Spain, says a lack of evidence has left climate change weakly supported—until now. “We put data behind the theory,” he said, filling in a large gap in European climate records when Neanderthals faded out of existence.

I haven't been following this one too closely so no pithy comments.