The Dark Secrets of Neanderthals' Rapid Extinction (Video)
The abrupt vanishing act of Neanderthals, Europe's exclusive human metapopulation before Homo sapiens, raises perplexing questions about their mysterious and rapid extinction. A recent study sheds light on the timeline, revealing that Neanderthals, who peaked around 45,000 years ago, experienced an astonishing decline, fading away just 3,000 years later. As Homo sapiens advanced from the south, Neanderthals sought refuge in Northern Germany, specifically along the Elba and Vasa River on the North German Plains, before facing extinction. Examining the middle Paleolithic era, roughly spanning 200,000 to 40,000 years ago, unveils a turbulent Neanderthal history marked by demographic fluctuations, migrations, and population declines.
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The study suggests a complex scenario where Neanderthals, subjected to extreme changes, were potentially forced out of southern Europe, finding sanctuary in Northwestern Europe. The swift extinction, occurring within a few thousand years, hints at a possible clash with colonizing Homo sapiens armed with advanced weaponry, such as the bow and arrow. While climatic shifts played regional roles, the primary driver of Neanderthal extinction appears rooted in competition and interbreeding with Homo sapiens. The mystery of Neanderthals' demise persists, prompting ongoing scientific exploration into the intricate dynamics that led to their sudden decline in the face of the modern human onslaught.
Top image: Very muscular looking AI generated Neanderthal. Source: NorLife/Adobe Stock