- Did Cannibalism contribute to Neanderthal extinction?
- Archaeology magazine interview with John Hawks
- Divergence of modern humans and Neanderthals
- FOXP2 and Neanderthals revisited
- Complete Neanderthal mtDNA sequence
- Neanderthals grew fast, matured later (?)
- Reconstruction of female Neanderthal
- John Hawks stars in the "Neanderthal Code"!
- Neanderthals' trips to the sea in search of food
- Neanderthals and the Uluzzian
- Why did Neanderthals have broad noses?
- The Middle to Upper Paleolithic record of western Eurasia
- Belgian Spy Neanderthals 36,000 years BP old
Did they die out due to competition? Or does their disappearance signal their genetic absorption by AMHs?
The fact of Neanderthals' extinction is highly significant. Europe could quite easily have supported both species if their population numbers were fairly low, approaching what John Hawks has described as "biblical models of human migration, like Noah-and-the-Flood level bottlenecks. " Competition increases as the ratio of resources/population increases. A live and let live attitude prevails if there is plenty for all.
It seems to me that for AMHs to either (i) absorb with almost no trace or (ii) displace/drive to extinction, the indigenous Neanderthal population of Europe, it would be necessary for a great number of AMHs to exist. Even if AMHs had a major technological/cognitive advantage -and the latest research suggests otherwise, e.g., #6, 8, 9- such a thorough dominance would be unlikely. At the very least, we might expect Neanderthals to have survived for a much longer period.
PLoS ONE doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003972
Neanderthal Extinction by Competitive Exclusion
William E. Banks et al.
Despite a long history of investigation, considerable debate revolves around whether Neanderthals became extinct because of climate change or competition with anatomically modern humans (AMH).
We apply a new methodology integrating archaeological and chronological data with high-resolution paleoclimatic simulations to define eco-cultural niches associated with Neanderthal and AMH adaptive systems during alternating cold and mild phases of Marine Isotope Stage 3. Our results indicate that Neanderthals and AMH exploited similar niches, and may have continued to do so in the absence of contact.
The southerly contraction of Neanderthal range in southwestern Europe during Greenland Interstadial 8 was not due to climate change or a change in adaptation, but rather concurrent AMH geographic expansion appears to have produced competition that led to Neanderthal extinction.