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19 January 2012
A new theory on the disappearance of Neanderthals

A new theory has been put forward by a team from the Arizona State university and the University of Colorado Denver (USA) on the fate of Neanderthals. The team has recently published a paper on their findings, which were the results of computational modelling.
     Michael Barton, a pioneer in the area of archaeological applications of computational modelling explains what it means. "To better understand human ecology, and especially how human culture and biology evolved amongst hunter-gatherers in the Late Pleistocene of western Eurasia (approximately 126,000 to 9,500 BCE) we designed theoretical and methodological frameworks that incorporated feedback across three evolutionary systems: biological, cultural and environmental".
     Their theory is based on the fact that Neanderthals were more intelligent than originally thought and adapted rapidly to changes in their environment. So, when the more populous Homo Sapiens arrived in their midst they adapted and survived by inter breeding with them and, eventually, became absorbed into their society and ceased to be recognisable as a separate species. The paper has already provoked a vocal reaction, both for and against.

Edited from PhysOrg (16 January 2012)

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