Neanderthal extinction hypotheses

Neanderthal Extinction Hypotheses

Neanderthal extinction hypotheses

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Neanderthal extinction hypotheses are theories about how Neanderthals became extinct around 30,000 years ago. Ever since their discovery, both the Neanderthals' place in the human family tree and their relation to modern Europeans has been hotly debated. At different times they have been classified as a separate species (Homo neanderthalensis) and as a subspecies of Homo sapiens (Homo sapiens neanderthalensis).

Theories on the fate of the Neanderthals include an inability to cope with climate change, competitive exclusion or even genocide by anatomically modern humans, and hybridization, effectively being absorbed into the Cro-Magnon population.

Coexistence prior to extinction

Neanderthals and modern humans coexisted in Europe for several thousand years, but the duration of this period is uncertain. and Neanderthals may have lived as recently as 24,000 years ago in refugia on the south coast of the Iberian peninsula such as Gorham's Cave.

Rapid extinction

Jared Diamond has suggested a scenario of violent conflict comparable to the genocides suffered by indigenous peoples in recent human history.<ref...
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