Neanderthals Died Out 10,000 Years Earlier Than Thought, With Help From Modern Humanstags: Neanderthal
Neanderthals' mysterious disappearance from the fossil record has long puzzled scholars who wondered whether the species went extinct on its own or was helped on its way out by Europe's first modern human migrants.
"When did the Neanderthals disappear, and why?" says Tom Higham of the United Kingdom's University of Oxford, who authored the new fossil dating study published on Wednesday in the journal Nature. "That has always been the big question."
His research bolsters the idea that Europe's first modern human arrivals played a role. The new fossil dating suggests that Neanderthals died out in isolated patches across western Europe, with small areas overlapping in mosaic fashion for thousands of years with the arrival sites of the first modern humans there.
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