A new study by a Washington University in St. Louis suggests life expectancy was probably the same for early modern and late archaic humans and did not factor in the extinction of Neanderthals.
Our species, Homo sapiens, is the only surviving lineage of the genus Homo. Still, there once were many others, all of whom could also be called human. One puzzle was the lack of elderly individuals. It was therefore suggested that early hominins might have had a shorter life expectancy than early modern humans, with our lineage ultimately outnumbering Neanderthals, contributing to their demise.
Erik Trinkaus, PhD, Professor of Anthropology in Arts & Sciences examined the fossil record to assess adult mortality for both groups, which co-existed in different regions for roughly 150,000 years. Trinkaus found that the proportions of 20 to 40 year old adults versus adults older than 40, were about the same for early modern humans and Neanderthals.
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