DNA Reveals Neanderthal Extinction Clues
Neanderthals were already on the verge of extinction in Europe by the time modern humans arrived on the scene, a study suggests. DNA analysis shows most Neanderthals in western Europe died out as early as 50,000 years ago – thousands of years before our own species appeared. A small group of Neanderthals then recolonised parts of Europe, surviving for 10,000 years before vanishing.
In their scientific paper, the researchers propose that some event – possibly changes in the climate – caused Neanderthal populations in the West to crash around 50,000 years ago. But populations may have survived in warmer southern refuges, allowing the later re-expansion.