Navigation Links
Climate -- no smoking gun for Neanderthals
Date:9/13/2007

Questions remain unresolved as to whether the Neanderthals died out because of competition with modern people or because of deteriorating climatic conditions. Although scientists have gained increased knowledge of past climate it has been difficult to pinpoint the climatic character at the time of the Neanderthal disappearance. A new study by an international team of researchers, published this week in the prestigious journal Nature, has developed a breakthrough approach to address this issue (Nature, September 13, 2007).

"Our findings suggest that there was no single climatic event that caused the extinction of the Neanderthals" says palaeoanthro-pologist Katerina Harvati. Only a controversial date for very late Neanderthal survival places their disappearance just before a major environmental shift. "Even in this case" continues Harvati "the role of climate would have been indirect, perhaps promoting competition with other human groups".

"There are three main limitations to understanding the role of climate in the Neanderthal extinction" explains palaeoecologist Chronis Tzedakis: uncertainty over the exact timing of the Neanderthal disappearance; uncertainties in converting radiocarbon dates to actual calendar years; and the chronological imprecision of the ancient climate record. "Our novel method circumvents the last two problems" adds palaeoclimatologist Konrad Hughen. "We were therefore able to provide a much more accurate picture of the climatic background at the time of the Neanderthal disappearance". "More generally," continues Hughen "our approach offers the huge potential to unravel the role of climate in critical events of the recent fossil record as it can be applied to any radiocarbon date from any deposit".

The new method was applied by the researchers to three possible dates for the Neanderthal extinction obtained from Gorham's cave, Gibraltar - a site thought to have been occupied by some of the latest surviving Neanderthals. The first two of these dates (~32 and ~28 thousand radiocarbon years ago) relate to conditions that are not distinct from the general climatic instability of the last glacial period. The much more controversial date of ~24 thousand radiocarbon years ago places the last Neanderthals just before a major environmental shift, with an expansion of ice sheets and onset of cold conditions in northern Europe. Gibraltar's climate, however, remained relatively unaffected "perhaps as a result of warm water from the subtropical Atlantic entering the western Mediterranean" according to palaeoceanographer Isabel Cacho.


'/>"/>

Contact: Dr. Katerina Harvati
harvati@eva.mpg.de
49-341-355-0358
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Scientists find fossil proof of Egypts ancient climate
2. Small species back-up giant marsupial climate change extinction claim
3. Africa to take it on chin again with climate change
4. Ocean climate predicts elk population in Canadian Rockies
5. Deep sea algae connect ancient climate, carbon dioxide and vegetation
6. Climate model links higher temperatures to prehistoric extinction
7. Climate experts search for answers in the oceans
8. York scientists warn of dramatic impact of climate change on Africa
9. New markers of climate change
10. Disappearing arctic lakes linked to climate change
11. Field tested: Grasslands wont help buffer climate change as carbon dioxide levels rise
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/14/2016)... -- NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or the "Company"), a ... airing of a new series of commercials on Time Warner ... st .  The commercials will air on Bloomberg TV, Fox ... Street show. --> NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or the ... announces the airing of a new series of commercials on ...
(Date:3/10/2016)... March 10, 2016   Unisys Corporation (NYSE: ... Protection (CBP) is testing its biometric identity solution at ... to help identify certain non-U.S. citizens leaving the ... test, designed to help determine the efficiency and accuracy of ... February and will run until May 2016. --> ...
(Date:3/3/2016)... MONTEREY, Calif. , March 3, 2016  FlexTech, ... in the categories of Innovation, Research & Development, Leadership ... Industry Leadership. This is the 9 th year ... select group of companies and individuals from past ... nominations based on a pre-described set of criteria, by ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/28/2016)... ... 28, 2016 , ... As part of an ongoing global ... expanding its LATAM network and logistics capabilities. Enhancements have been made to ... trial projects. , The expansion will provide unmatched clinical trial logistics services for ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... Most consumers ... with fingerprint recognition for secure access, voice recognition for hands-free communication, and facial ... are interacting with biometrics technology today. But if they asked Joey Pritikin, ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... PathSensors, Inc., a leading ... Dr. Lamka will assist PathSensors in expanding the use of the company‚Äôs CANARY® ... CANARY® test platform for the detection of harmful pathogens, including a number of ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... , April 27, 2016 ... report with specific focus on US, EU, ... , to the healthcare business intelligence collection ... Complete report on the Flow Cytometry ... and supported with 282 tables and figures is ...
Breaking Biology Technology: