Monday, February 27, 2012

Western Neanderthals already a fading light before arrival of modern humans

Newly published results from an international team of researchers show that most of an earlier population of Neanderthals in Europe had already died off around 50,000 years ago.
Previously, the established view was of a stable Neanderthal population in Europe from nearly 250,000 to 30,000 years ago and then they disappeared from the archaeological record after modern humans arrived, however this new research suggests the accepted paradigm must be revised.

A new perspective

This new perspective on the Neanderthals comes from a study of ancient DNA published today in Molecular Biology and Evolution. The results indicate that most European Neanderthals had died off as early as 50,000 years ago. After which, a smaller group of Neanderthals recolonised central and western Europe, where they survived until modern humans entered the picture.

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