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Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Multicultural diversity doomed the Neanderthals

A new theory holds that far from being outsmarted, the Neanderthals were clever and mated with humans.
Which led to the demise of Neanderthals.

From the Telegraph:
Rather than being outwitted by the more numerous early humans, Neanderthals were just as sophisticated -- but so impressed the humans they were seen as potential mates, say scientists.
The interbreeding meant that their own line died out, said Professor Julien Riel-Salvatore, of the University of Colorado, adding: "In many ways they were simply victims of their own success."
Researchers studied computer models of how hominin groups evolved in response to climate change in the last Ice Age, looking at culture and biology amongst hunter gatherers between 11,500 and 128,000 years ago, reports journal Human Ecology.
Professor Michael Barton, of Arizona State University, the lead author of the study, said: "We designed theoretical and methodological frameworks that incorporated feedback across three evolutionary systems: biological, cultural and environmental.
"One scientifically interesting result of this research, which studied culturally and environmentally driven changes in land-use behaviors, is that it shows how Neanderthals could have disappeared not because they were somehow less fit than all other hominins who existed during the last glaciation, but because they were as behaviorally sophisticated as modern humans."
An amusing tale. But given the history of the world -- of invaders from overpopulated territories pushing out the indigenous people -- this scenario is plausible.


  1. I've read there's a small amount of Neanderthal DNA in modern humans.

  2. An interesting theory. So, is this a literal case of screwing yourself into oblivion? - Elric

  3. Ditto with the Hawaiians of Polynesia. They intermarried themselves into virtual extinction. If you ever read or hear about the native Hawaiian separatist movement, just realize that the large majority of the activists have only a tiny percentage of Hawaiian blood. The native bloodline has been so diluted that some of the most prominent leaders of the separatist movement have been more Irish (!) or Portuguese (!) or Asian than native Hawaiian.

  4. If they "mated" and had kids then they are the same species. Human beings can't make children with an ape.