|16 January 2011
Early modern humans had our same life expectancy
Life expectancy was probably the same for early modern and late archaic humans and did not factor in the extinction of Neandertals, suggests a new study by Erik Trinkaus, PhD, of Washington University in his study, 'Late Pleistocene Adult Mortality Patterns and Modern Human Establishment,' in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
In this work, Trinkaus examined the fossil record to assess adult mortality for both groups which co-existed in different regions for roughly 150,000 years. He found that the proportions of adults aged 20-40 versus adults older than 40 were about the same for both early modern humans and Neandertals.
"If indeed there was a demographic advantage for early modern humans - at least during transitional phases of Late Pleistocene human evolution - it must have been the result of increased fertility and/or reduced immature mortality," Trinkaus writes. "Neither adult longevity nor proposed modest shifts in developmental rates are likely to have played a role in this demographic transition."
Edited from Washington University in St.Louis, AFP, Yahoo! News (10 January 2011)
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