April 02, 2013

Direct dating of El Sidrón Neandertals: 48.4+/-3.2ky BP

I sometimes wonder what will be left of the "long co-existence between AMH and Neandertals in Europe" once all the radiocarbon redating dust settles. The more interesting question is: how did AMH wipe out the Neandertals? Love or War? If recent history of encounters between populations with a clear technology differential is any guide, probably a little bit of both.

Archaeometry Volume 55, Issue 1, pages 148–158, February 2013


R. E. WOOD et al.

Torres et al. (2010) published a series of radiocarbon, AAR, ESR and OSL dates from the site of El Sidrón, northern Spain, which is notable for the discovery of the partial remains of 12 Neanderthals. Whilst the non-radiocarbon methods suggested an age beyond 32 600–46 300 years, direct radiocarbon dates on the human fossils were inconsistent, ranging between 10 000 and 50 000 bp. This study uses the ultrafiltration pre-treatment protocol to obtain a date of 48 400 ± 3200 bp (OxA-21 776) on a bone fragment and confirm the antiquity of the Neanderthal assemblage. Moreover, it demonstrates the comparability of the ultrafiltration and ninhydrin bone radiocarbon pre-treatment protocols, and highlights the need for appropriate screening methods where valuable collections with poor biomolecular preservation are sampled for collagen extraction.



Fiend of 9 worlds said...

I'm guessing they were already pre wiped out by climate for all intents and purposes.

Also, still not sure that new calibrations past 26k bp are generally good, just less bad.

terryt said...

"I'm guessing they were already pre wiped out by climate for all intents and purposes".

Doubtful. Evidence for interbreeding between Neanderthals and modern humans keeps expanding. Here is John Hawks post on the mandible Dienekes recently posted on:


"In our view, this change in morphology among late Neanderthals reopens the debate on the 'more modern like' morphology of late Neanderthals and can lend support to the hypothesis of a certain degree of continuity with AMHs or a possible interbreeding with them".


"Jim Ahern and colleagues (including me) have showed that the Vindija G3 Neandertals have morphological features that are not typical of classic Neandertals, and that are significantly different in the modern human direction"

I very much doubt that the movement towards 'modern human' is not the result of parallel evolution.

Fiend of 9 worlds said...

I didn't say they didn't interbreed, but we don't see a mostly neanderthal europe either. Nobody disputes that (I hope). Numbers were fewer and fewer for some time before AMH took over.