Claim: Did volcanic induced climate change wipe out Neanderthals 40,000 years ago?

Figure 4 in B.A. Black et al.: This image shows annually averaged temperature anomalies in excess of 3°C for the first year after the Campanian Ignimbrite (CI) eruption compared with spatial distribution of hominin sites with radiocarbon ages close to that of the eruption. Credit B.A. Black et al. and the journal Geology

Figure 4 in B.A. Black et al.: This image shows annually averaged temperature anomalies in excess of 3°C for the first year after the Campanian Ignimbrite (CI) eruption compared with spatial distribution of hominin sites with radiocarbon ages close to that of the eruption. Credit B.A. Black et al. and the journal Geology

From the Geological Society of America: Boulder, Colo., USA – The Campanian Ignimbrite (CI) eruption in Italy 40,000 years ago was one of the largest volcanic cataclysms in Europe and injected a significant amount of sulfur-dioxide (SO2) into the stratosphere. Scientists have long debated whether this eruption contributed to the final extinction of the Neanderthals. This new study by Benjamin A. Black and colleagues tests this hypothesis with a sophisticated climate model.

Black and colleagues write that the CI eruption approximately coincided with the final decline of Neanderthals as well as with dramatic territorial and cultural advances among anatomically modern humans. Because of this, the roles of climate, hominin competition, and volcanic sulfur cooling and acid deposition have been vigorously debated as causes of Neanderthal extinction.

They point out, however, that the decline of Neanderthals in Europe began well before the CI eruption: “Radiocarbon dating has shown that at the time of the CI eruption, anatomically modern humans had already arrived in Europe, and the range of Neanderthals had steadily diminished. Work at five sites in the Mediterranean indicates that anatomically modern humans were established in these locations by then as well.”

“While the precise implications of the CI eruption for cultures and livelihoods are best understood in the context of archaeological data sets,” write Black and colleagues, the results of their study quantitatively describe the magnitude and distribution of the volcanic cooling and acid deposition that ancient hominin communities experienced coincident with the final decline of the Neanderthals.

In their climate simulations, Black and colleagues found that the largest temperature decreases after the eruption occurred in Eastern Europe and Asia and sidestepped the areas where the final Neanderthal populations were living (Western Europe). Therefore, the authors conclude that the eruption was probably insufficient to trigger Neanderthal extinction.

However, the abrupt cold spell that followed the eruption would still have significantly impacted day-to-day life for Neanderthals and early humans in Europe. Black and colleagues point out that temperatures in Western Europe would have decreased by an average of 2 to 4 degrees Celsius during the year following the eruption. These unusual conditions, they write, may have directly influenced survival and day-to-day life for Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans alike, and emphasize the resilience of anatomically modern humans in the face of abrupt and adverse changes in the environment.


FEATURED ARTICLE

Campanian Ignimbrite volcanism, climate, and the final decline of the Neanderthals

Benjamin A. Black et al., University of California, Berkeley, California, USA. Published online ahead of print on 19 March 2015; http://dx.doi.org/10.1130/G36514.1.

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219 thoughts on “Claim: Did volcanic induced climate change wipe out Neanderthals 40,000 years ago?

      • Claim: Did volcanic induced climate change wipe out Neanderthals 40,000 years ago?

        They are alive and well in the form of WUWT trolls. :-O

      • The Liberal Climate Change Policies that have been forced upon the populace during the past 30+ years have literally wrecked havoc upon the socio-economic and educational status of the populations of the civilized countries, …. primarily in Western Europe and North America.

    • “This new study by Benjamin A. Black and colleagues tests this hypothesis with a sophisticated climate model.”

      Tells you all you really need to know about the study.
      afaik
      Sophisticated climate models are as rare as honest politicians.

      • “Sophisticated climate models are as rare as honest politicians.”
        Sophisticated climate models (GIGO can be very sophisticated, likewise so can the typical models which are pre-programmed to ‘prove’ CAGW theory) – they are not unusual, but accurate ones are as rare as rocking horse poo.

    • This sounds like one of those pieces nore accurately describing wht “finished them off” type of thing. Much as the meteor/comet impact that appears likely to have “finished off” the dinosaurs that were already in declien due to a climate shift to cooling!

  1. Neanderthals were already on their way out at the time of the eruption, about 39.28 ± 0.11 ka.
    They were better adapted biologically to cold than Anatomically Modern Humans, but more reliant (it appears) on hunting large herbivores. Some evidence suggests that Neanderthal diet did include plants and fish, but not to the same extent as for AMH, aka Cro-Magnons.
    It has recently been suggested that AMH use of dogs contributed to the demise of Neanderthals, but there is no conclusive evidence of dogs older than 30 ka.

    • If the Neanderthals were better adapted to cold, then wouldn’t a cold snap have hurt the Modern Humans more than the Neanderthals?
      On the other hand, the Neanderthal territory had been shrinking, so perhaps the cold spell hurt both populations, but since the Modern Humans had a larger range, including areas no directly affected by the volcano, they might have been better positioned to bounce back after the volcano?

      • MarkW
        March 21, 2015 at 8:42 am
        “If the Neanderthals were better adapted to cold, then wouldn’t a cold snap have hurt the Modern Humans more than the Neanderthals?”
        Makes you wonder whether Neanderthals would have made this glaring logical error when writing that paper.

      • Mine is about 2.5% and I have a vestigial brow ridge. I’ve considered filing anti-Neanderthal discrimination law suits.

      • Here is a question. If we have 97% of our genes in common with chimpanzees, how come that you have only 2.5% of your genes in common with Neanderthals.
        Serious question. I’ve seen such percentage numbers before and I have no idea at all what they should convey.

      • DirkH, the 97% number is an assessment of genetic drift. Since the common ancestor of the chimpanzee and the human, roughly 3% of our genome has differentiated. So, for a terrible example, the brown eye gene common ancestor mutated in people and allowed for a further mutation to become the blue eye gene. These differences, along with “rubbish sites” (or inactive genes) show us how far removed we are from another species.
        The 1-4% number of genes found in humans that come from Neanderthals is an assessment of active genetic sequences that are identical or slightly off of the Neanderthal samples we have from bones and remains.
        They are percentages that compare different aspects of their genetic profiles.

      • Dirk,
        Different things are being measured.
        When comparing individuals of the same species, there are markers that indicate the origins of those genes or that genetic material. For instance, the various genealogical services look for markers to indicate where your mother’s mitochondrial DNA came from.
        Modern humans and Neanderthals are obviously very closely related, but we have different versions of some genes. Humans and chimps also often have different versions of the same genes, but also have sequences with so many differences that they’re not the same gene anymore.
        Also, a lot of the differences between humans and chimps don’t lie in our genes but in the “epigenetic” mechanisms that control how long certain genes are switched on. That’s why humans have the same number of hair follicles per square inch of skin as chimps, but we aren’t hairy. Our body hair stops growing much sooner than chimps’. Same goes for the structure of our leg bones.
        To sum up, geneticists can distinguish between the Neanderthal or AMH origin of the same genes in these two subspecies. But that’s not the same operation as counting the similarities or differences in the genes of humans and our closest ape relatives.
        We’re separated from chimps by several millions of years of divergent evolution but only a few hundreds of thousands from Neanderthals.

      • “To sum up, geneticists can distinguish between the Neanderthal or AMH origin of the same genes in these two subspecies. But that’s not the same operation as counting the similarities or differences in the genes of humans and our closest ape relatives.”
        So, if we have the same gene X as the chimpanzee, and the Neanderthal has the same gene X as the chimpanzee, the scientists can tell whether YOUR gene X comes from your Homo sapiens ancestor or your Neanderthal ancestor?
        And, as the Neanderthal must als have had about 97% of genes in common with the chimpanzee, how does it matter one iot whether your gene X comes from the Homo sapiens, well wait, I’ll be PC and call him Gay sapiens from now on, that’s better – so from your Gay Sapiens or your Neanderthal ancestor? It’s the same gene X after all because we both (The Gay Sapiens and the Neanderthal) have it in common with the chimpanzee. Plus or minus something that the scientists use to tell whether it came from the Gay Sapiens or from the Neanderthal.

      • Dirk,
        Maybe I didn’t explain the difference well.
        There are markers which indicate if your genes came from a Neanderthal or a Modern. In many cases it doesn’t matter because the function will be the same. In others, as for instance formation of a brow ridge, the difference might be visible but make no functional difference.
        The reason it’s interesting to some people is because it shows that Moderns and Neanderthals mated and produced viable offspring.
        That’s a different sort of conclusion than what can be drawn from comparison of wholly different genes with chimps, other apes, other primates, other mammals, other vertebrates, invertebrates, fungi, plants, etc.

      • Sturgis….
        You have my sympathies but it has occurred to me that it might not be “vestigial”….You might possibly be the vanguard of a de-evolution so I guess your offence may be a little premature…
        Just trying to help.
        A

      • Jones,
        Which offense do you have in mind?
        I can guarantee that my Neanderthal traits are all vestigial, not that there’s anything wrong with Neanderthals. They were well adapted to their environment, and lots of modern groups have also been cannibals.

      • Hia,
        Consideration of filing an anti-neanderthal discrimination suit implied offence. I can see though that it might just be concern at the neolithic struggle of a minority group that’s the driving force so apologies there.
        Sincere apologies.
        There’s nowt wrong with a Neanderthal ridge in my view lest I be seen as a closet Neanderthalist (heaven forbid).
        It’s the single eyebrow to be worried about.
        Jones..
        P.S. The written word often fails to get nuance and humour across but I am (in an attempted pythonesque way but failing) just taking the renal excretion.

      • Jones,
        My idea was to claim discrimination for any and all offenses I’ve suffered.
        Mine isn’t quite a unibrow–it kind of peters out supranasally–but the ridges are definitely there.
        Regrettably not the robustness, although stocky as a child, kind of like the chunky 28,000 year old baby found in Portugal and once claimed as evidence for late Neanderthal survival.

      • DirkH March 21, 2015 at 11:34 am
        If you look at the genome in the way that geneticists do when comparing humans and chimps, the Neanderthals & AMHs share over 99% of genes.
        What the 2% commonality figure refers to is the number of genes in modern people that carry markers as having come from Neanderthals. AMHs and Neanderthals often had different versions of the same gene, as well as a few different genes.

    • I’m going to disagree with all of you. The Neanderthals did not become extinct. They were a sub species home sapiens neanderthalis. There was geographical and temporal genetic diversity and specialisation amongst hominids but they, and we, don’t deserve a separate species label. Neanderthals had a lower population density than humans as an apex predator of large game. They were a minority of all hominids. Take a population that is 96% human and 4% Neanderthal and let them interbreed for 30,000 years. The result is a gene pool that is 96% human and 4% – what we have today. I could point to a number of boxers and rugby players who have a lot of Neanderthal features including the sloping forehead and prominent eyebrows.

      • The essential features distinguishing Neanderthals from Moderns are extinct.
        Some superficial traits derived from Neanderthals may appear in some individuals, or I may inherit via a Neanderthal gene a function that is identical with a Modern gene.
        Bear in mind that if 2% of my genes derive from Neanderthals, in almost every case the allele, which may be recessive, dominant or equal, for that trait on the chromatid from my other parent will be from a Modern. Thus only a tiny share of Neanderthal traits will actually be expressed.

      • Alan, seems to me europeans are Guys who migrated from Africa, had sex with, and also out competed white folk named after a place in Germany. These white folk disappeared and what remains is mostly Africans with a little bit of the non African DNA.

    • “There is no conclusive evidence of dogs older than 30 ka”
      That’s pretty old for a dog. I’ve never heard of any dog even close to that age.

  2. I find it strange, they harp on about settled science in Climate Change and then they somehow manage to ignore the DNA evidence that Neanderthals didn’t die out, They interbred with the modern species and what we have today is the result. Suddenly when its useful to climatology the myth that the Neanderthals died out is trotted out with a convenient climate demise for them, you know, it happened before, it can happen again fear tactic. Just goes to show that climastrology is a science free zone.

    • Neanderthals did die out. The average person from outside Subsaharan African has only about 1.5 to 2.1% Neanderthal ancestry, ranging as high as perhaps 4% among some Europeans. En toto, maybe as much as 20% of the Neanderthal genome has survived. Maybe. And the majority of those genes don’t do anything differently from our own Out of Africa genes.

      • PS; Some researchers think that, with enough test subjects, they could find as much as 40% of the Neanderthal genome lurking among living people, but I’m dubious.
        In any case, Neanderthals as a distinct subspecies, ie a large population with a consistently different genome from ours, are long gone.

      • The simple fact that Neanderthals interbred with AMH, aka Cro-Magnons tells us that they were not a separate species. We see the same thing in modern humans. Considerable differences in size and color between sub-species caused by environmental pressure.
        The DNA ratio doesn’t necessarily mean Neanderthals died out. If you mix 2 poodles in with 98 collies, over time most of the descendants will look a lot like collies, but a few will look a lot like poodles. Unless there is some selective advantage, the end product will be 2% poodle and 98% collie. In some ways both the collies and the poodles died out, and in some ways both survived.

      • So, if a full blooded Neanderthal and a full blooded Anatomically Modern Human mate their offspring is ½ (50%) Neanderthal. That “half breed” mates with a 100% AMH the result is a ¼ (25%) Neanderthal. That quarter breed mates with a 100% AMH the result is 1/8 (12.5%) Neanderthal. That eighth breed mates with a 100% AMH the result is a 1/16 (6.25%) Neanderthal. That sixteenth breed mates with a 100% AMH the result is a 1/32 (3.1%) Neanderthal. That thirty-second breed mates with a 100% AMH (mail ordered from sub-Saharan Africa because they became so hard to find) the result is a 1/64 (1.6%) Neanderthal. So, in just a few generations a small population of 100% Neanderthals can be bred out of apparent existence through mating with a large population of AMH. They didn’t die out, they we’re bred out, and they are now part of us.

      • John West: Your scenario assumes that there was only one interbreeding event.
        In reality there would have been a number of events, resulting in multiple lines, which over time interbred, so you would get a situation where a 98% pure human breeds with a 98% pure human.

      • “ferdberple March 21, 2015 at 7:59 am
        The simple fact that Neanderthals interbred with AMH, aka Cro-Magnons tells us that they were not a separate species…”

        Slight mis-statement Ferdberple.
        Closely related species can interbreed successfully. There is not a interbreeding barrier between species; though there are other reasons that cause separate species to avoid interbreeding. e.g. preference, fertility season, birthing difficulties and sexual organ physical differences.
        Horticulture breeders frequently interbreed related species in seeking particular plant behaviors and benefits.
        A common image of a difficult species interbreed effort are the mating of a donkey to a horse. There are enough differences in their breeding genetics that the result, a mule, is almost always sterile.
        A possible reason for the lack of identifiable Neanderthal DNA in modern humans may be a result of a lack of or reduced fertility in Modern/Neanderthal progeny.
        For what it is worth:
        My Mother’s side includes native American ancestry. One side effect of the Amerindian blood is a lack of hirsute relatives; e.g. one of my Brothers has what is known as a ‘basketball’ mustache, i.e. five on each side. Several male relatives don’t bother shaving more than a couple times a week, and no-one notices.
        Then there is my way over the top hair growth. Shaving everyday at age 14, five o-clock shadow at 10AM and very shaggy from the neck to ankle.
        Trying to discover why has led me to wonder if any ancestors married a bear. One day, while suffering more questions, my Father looked at me and said that his Mother used to complain that one of her Brothers back in the Ukraine was unbelievably hirsute.
        One never knows just what physical aspects may be a reflection of their Neanderthal ancestry.
        DNA testing identifies both my Father’s DNA and Amerindian ancestry. I’d get a kick out their finally identifying where that hairy Neanderthal bonus gene snuck in…

      • Sturgis, I had a cousin who must have had a lot of Neanderthal. He was huge, really strong, and was the hairiest person you’ll ever see. My dad (who was an MD) used to joke we must have been part Neanderthal because we had huge molars (mine were so large I had four brand new molars extracted when I was 13). And our heads are so large that when I was sixteen and worked in a furniture factory I couldn’t find a painter’s cap to fit me properly. I had to slit the ones they gave me and put a bunch of masking tape around my head.

      • We do not consider Africans and Caucasians as different species (in polite company at least). Caucasians share genes with Neanderthals but Africans don’t, but why are there 2 species here? Why consider Neanderthals as a different species to Africans? Yes, there are details surrounding alleles and differential survival rates of gene variants but it’s the definition of ‘species’ which is the issue.

      • Alan G,
        The (ultimately) African immigrants to Europe from the Middle East and the indigenous Neanderthals weren’t different species, but subspecies of the same species.
        You’re right though that talk of “new humans” sounds as if that’s what is being implied.

    • You beat me to it. They interbred – this is what science has become – speculation and then skip all the other steps, build a self-fulfilling model and present a scientific paper on it. It’s similar to the one on melting permafrost of the other day with up to 164petagrams of carbon to release. The average thickness of overburden in northern Canada is ~3-4m the rest of the frozen permafrost is in solid rock with no CO2/CH4 to release and since the ‘active layler’ is 0.5-3m, (the annual melting top), most of the gases have already been released. This is science in the common room, not field work.

    • I’m afraid DNA evidence isn’t sensitive enough to do a good job once you are dealing with trace amounts of ancestry. You may have an heirloom suggesting your great-great-great-great-grandmother came from Lower Slobovia, but it isn’t easy to show you are 1/64th Sobovian from your DNA.

      • There is also the problem that since both humans and neanderthals share a fairly recent, common ancestor they are going to share a lot of DNA even without interbreeding.

    • Bobl… you are correct. Neanderthals and Sapiens interbred to yield a new creature… US!
      Sapiens produced numerically more genes to “US” but neither pure species exists any more… except maybe in Africa. African humans have nearly no Neanderthal DNA.

      • AMHs and Neaderthals are not separate species. We are subspecies of H. sapiens. AMHs are H. sapiens sapiens and Neanderthals are H. sapiens neandertalensis.
        It was always obvious to me that the two races were capable of mating and producing viable offspring. Even back when some few questioned this fact, there was never unanimity that we are (or were) separate species. IMO Moderns could also have produced viable offspring with H. heidelbergensis, the ancestor of both Moderns and Neanderthals. I’ll go out on a limb and claim that that applies to H. erectus grade populations as well. H. habilis, probably not, and only the most warped among the moderns would want to try.

      • Sturgis,
        It is definitions – again!
        Whether AMH and Neanderthals (and Denisovans, and heidelbergensis, and perhaps georgicus) and others too (perhaps) are all of one species is a matter of semantics.
        There certainly is a group of gull species, living round the Arctic, where there is a cline that runs from [I Think!] Norway, across Eurasia, through Beringia, and across the Canadian Arctic, then to Greenland and [possibly also] Iceland. There is extensive interbreeding with neighbouring species [There are, I think, about six or eight, but welcome correction].
        But, crucially, there is no known interbreeding across the ‘Atlantic Gap’ [Greenland or Iceland to Norway].
        What is a species?
        It’s something that a respected zoologist says is a species. No?
        My rule of thumb for genera [plural of genus] is that they can be seen to be different across the room. But I’m a seaman, not a zoologist, so that is possibly irrelevant.
        And this is – mostly – a climate thread/site. No?
        Auto

      • Species is a pleasant fiction designed to make life easier on taxonomists. All life is just one long continuum of varying allele frequencies amongst ever-bifurcating populations. Hell, even the mitochondria which make tracing the lineage of certain organisms along maternal lines easier only have their own distinctly non-nuclear DNA because it’s all but certain that they used to be bacteria which fell into an endosymbiotic relationship with some long since extinct (or unrecognizably evolved) single-celled eukaryote.
        Directed more to the topic of this thread, I believe it is a mistake to characterize Neanderthals as more violent or somehow less … human … than their Cro-Magnon contemporaries. Not enough data and far too influenced by what I see as our overly-developed (read: a load of bull) sense of cultured refinement. A Neanderthal living in the modern world might not exactly go unnoticed in a crowd, and in fact could probably make more than a decent living as an NFL lineman. Or as an actor on prime time television:
        http://metalfrog.us/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Lou.jpg
        The makeup artists would have an easier time of it for sure. I can’t speak for the hairstylists.

      • Gates, when you come right down to it, that argument could apply to just about everything.
        It’s all about definitions, isn’t it? Where we draw the lines.

    • I resent being told I interbred with Neanderthals!

      I had a student who complained about my assertion that we are all, ultimately, descended from fish. “I ain’t no fish!”… to scattered applause from his peers. O.k. so maybe I was waxing a little too freely on Darwinian evolution. I still think there’s some of those fish genes swimming around in the pool somewhere.

      • The vast majority of our genes are in common with fish, especially lobe-finned fish, like the lungfish and coelacanth. Lungfish are closer to tetrapods, but their genomes are enormous.
        Even the ray-finned Puffer fish and Zebra fish (85% commonality with humans) are so genetically similar to human beings that their genomes are being deciphered as model organisms for research. They’ve helped us understand our own genomes a lot better.

    • Agree with you. See my comment above. The idea of hermetically isolated species is largely discredited.

  3. The victim was shot, stabbed and beaten about the head and shoulders last night. Cause of death, the sun going down.

    • Somehow the Eemian Interglacial managed to be a lot warmer than even the balmiest stretches of the present Holocene Interglacial without benefit of a Neanderthal Industrial Age. Imagine that!

  4. …emphasize the resilience of anatomically modern humans in the face of abrupt and adverse changes in the environment.

    Wait a minute. If 1.5°C per century is going to kill us all despite our modern technology how did Alley Oop’s relatives manage to be better at survival with nothing but stone tools?

    • Scientists have long debated whether this eruption contributed to the final extinction of the Neanderthals.

      as opposed to which other extinctions?
      So, we’re not going to die?
      Can I get a refund?

    • the temperature here locally changes 10C in one day, and 30C over 6 month’s. Yet we are to believe that a couple of degree’s change over 4-5 generations of humans will somehow wipe us out?
      That having survived repeated ice ages and interglacials with stone age technology, science new tells us that somehow present day humans will not be able to survive any further climate change. Unless of course we pay a huge honking big wad of taxes to someone else. Then we will be OK.
      Big surprise. Don’t pay taxes on carbon, we are all going to die. Pay taxes on carbon, everything will be OK. Even if the taxes don’t change carbon pollution, we will be OK because at least we are doing something.
      Only thing is, once the carbon taxes are in place, some new scare will surface that can only be solved by new taxes. The only sure way to prevent this new problem is to prevent carbon taxes. So long as carbon remains tax free, the new problem will not develop. Only after carbon taxes are solved will scientists discover this new threat.

      • Right. The illogical is mind numbing. Carbon taxes coming here to Vermont, while Bernie Sanders burns jet fuel and hallucinates about being POTUS. But, Boehner has flown off to Israel as some sort of savior of what exactly?
        So, time to sell out and leave VT, but where to go . . . Belize?
        Is there anywhere that remembers the carbon cycle? the water cycle? Or is all new age science CAGW, so pay your dues?

  5. It took a major effort of will to read past the reference to “a sophisticated climate model” at the end of the first paragraph.

    • “Sophisticated” is a relative term. perhaps it prefers caviar over cheese and crackers.

    • Agree. A “sophisticated climate model”??? How sophisticated is it if its never been right?

      • One hopes a more sophisticated model would be less wrong than a less sophisticated one. That’s arguably true of the GCM approach over old-school two-slab energy balance models. But, as has been pointed out, more sophistication implies more complication — and complexity can breed error. But not necessarily so, thus popular sweeping opinion here resting on this truism is not a very satisfactory argument. Invoking Box is my little way of answering in kind, with the subtle reminder that some wrong models are still useful so long as they are judged according to their specified capabilities and intended use.
        Wistfully pining away for “accurate” long-term weather forecasting models when discussing AOGCMs intended to suss out changes in climate is pure folly. But such is the foolish game of those who delight in wilful ignorance whilst bizarrely claiming superior knowledge based on … well … nothing, really. I say the last bit because generally those who reject physics-based simulations of climate also tend to claim that the observational data are inconclusive, or have been fabricated outright. Leaving one wondering why they aren’t fabricated to match the model output better … but going there would require consistency, a quality ever so lacking in a crowd fond of pointing out that …
        1) Climate is always changing
        2) It’s been warmer in the past
        … based on even less reliable proxy data obtained and analyzed by researchers presumed to belong to the very same cabal of instrumental temperature fixers.
        Of course, there’s no doubt whatsoever that it’s getting colder in Antarctica, which means more ice. Funny how the “skepticism” vanishes when the otherwise unreliable, massaged, manipulated, tortured — if not wholly invented from whole cloth — data conform to the desired narrative. Isn’t it.

      • Brandon Gates comments making sweeping and harsh generalizations of the ‘skeptic’ crowd.. generalizations which I’m afraid are broadly accurate, based on my experience here and elsewhere. Unfortunately, Brandon, I think your critique will fall on deaf ears here, although by now you probably know that better than I do.

    • They are confusing the term “sophisticated” with the term “complex”, the poor dears.

  6. I’ve seen some studies of Neanderthal skulls which suggest that their brains were larger, but their tongues were less able to form the consonants we Cro-magnons use for our speech.
    This can can lead to only one logical conclusion. If Neanderthal had larger brains and didn’t speak, obviously they communicated telepathically.
    This also suggests the reasons Neanderthals vanished. If they could read minds, and had to read the moronic minds of “modern” Cro-magnons, it would obviously cause them great anguish.
    Can you imagine reading the mind of an Alarmist? We should thank God we aren’t psychic.

    • Maybe I am psychic, I get a really painful almost unbearable headache when I try to communicate with the warmistas.

    • If Neanderthal had larger brains and didn’t speak
      Prb’ly the reason Cro-Mag males found the Neanderthal women attractive. 🙂

  7. I notice from the illustration that this “sophisticated climate model” apparently can’t get the extent of the inland ice 40,000 years ago even approximately right. No surprise really, because I’ve never seen a climate model that can get it right. But it does rather lessen the credibility of the modelling when you know that it starts out from the wrong initial conditions.

  8. oops, sorry,
    No, we Neanderthals are still here,,now the conditions did force us to cross the land bridge, come down into the now American Southwest, the climate made us shorter, leaner, and meaner.
    Apaches are the descendants of those big old ones, but just as tough as ever.

  9. The DNA of Neanderthals tell a much different story.
    Neanderthals and sapiens coexisted for many years based on the fossil record. The DNA of Neanderthals make up 2-3% of Caucasian DNA. Africans have nearly no Neanderthal DNA. The number of differences between Neanderthal and sapien DNA cannot be accounted for using DNA mutation rate given the fact that they coexisted.
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/01/140129-neanderthal-genes-genetics-migration-africa-eurasian-science/
    The new theory is that Neanderthals interbred with sapiens to yield a new human.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/29/modern-human-dna-neanderthal_n_4689506.html
    Neanderthals had bigger brains than Homo Sapiens. They also seem to have had a better immune system. The also spoke a language. Key genes were identified in their DNA that are understood in humans.
    http://www.livescience.com/7973-human-speech-gene.html
    They are still here amongst us …look around.. Ron Pearlman….Nikolai Valuev
    Neanderthals never disappeared…they were absorbed and we are still here.
    So the whole study, and the human evolution model is seriously flawed.

      • ferderble,
        yes well taken… but looks aren’t everything! I know a few mathematicians that would get lost in a community of Neanderthals….Einstein…look at a picture of him! I postulate that Neanderthals were “smarter” than sapiens. To make a conclusion about the intelligence of Neanderthals base on the size of their nose or brow is absurd. Rather, it would make more sense to develop a hypothesis based on the cranial cavity, #folds on the brain, and the genetic make up.

      • Ferd,
        Dogs are all the same species, a subspecies of wolf. While perhaps a helpful analogy, it’s not fully apt for comparing subspecies with important behavioral and biological differences, instead of superficial ones like hair curliness.
        No descendant of Neanderthal-Modern matings, ie just about everyone outside Sub-Saharan Africa, is going to look like a Neanderthal in any meaningful way. All modern humans have the same kind of brain, for instance, ignoring developmental disorders. Neanderthals’ brains were different in important ways. No one, not even the biggest gym rat, is built like just a Neanderthal weakling. No one has their nose, throat, larynx, tongue and mouth arrangement (also lacking chins). They probably lacked highly visible, white sclera (the whites of their eyes). The list of significant differences is long. There were also superficial differences comparable to your canine example, as Neanderthals had less melanin in their skin, although their paleness derived from a different genetic basis than that of modern Europeans and Asians (whose paleness method also differ from each other).
        When the majority of the genome of a subspecies is gone, as is the case with Neanderthals, you can’t bring it back. With selective breeding over many generations you could perhaps produce vaguely Neanderthalish looking individuals, but they would not be even the human genetic equivalent of a wolf-dog cross.
        Paul,
        We do know a lot about the Neanderthal brain, and they were not as smart as we are. Their culture remained unchanged for hundreds of thousands of years. That of Moderns is constantly changing.
        By your line of thought “We” Neanderthal “hybrids” (2% does not a hybrid make) are distinct from Sub-Saharan Africans. In fact, despite superficial differences, H. sapiens populations are remarkably similar genetically, suggesting a bottleneck (as some have proposed for the Toba eruption). All modern humans, even the most unusual groups, are much more closely related than chimp groups are with each other, despite our cosmopolitan distribution and their limited range in tropical African habitats.
        The greatest degree of genetic difference is not between non-Africans and Africans, but among Africans, which is to be expected given that it’s the cradle of humanity. Genus Homo certainly arose there, as did AMHs. It’s also highly likely that the intervening H. erectus-grade groups did, too.

      • Hi Sturgis,
        Well I was careful to suggest a “postulation”. Here is why. I grew up through school being absolutely abused by hair-brained teachers who, with inappropriate certainty, told the class(es) that there was this linear “evolution” of mankind. We know that the fossil record does not support that assertion. I recall asking if there is abundant archaeological evidence and I also recall being told of 1000s of skeletons as proof. It turns out that not a single complete skeleton has been unearthed and only about 50 partial skeletons of “neanderthal” have been found. The sheer lack of samples of skulls make my appropriate skepticism sound.
        Archaeologists are so quick to make all sorts of assumptions without data….
        Now we have genetic evidence of a couple of individuals.
        Referring CU-Boulder researcher Paola Villa…
        “The evidence for cognitive inferiority is simply not there,” CU-Boulder researcher Paola Villa, a curator at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History, said in a statement. “What we are saying is that the conventional view of Neanderthals is not true.”
        http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/6833/20140430/neanderthals-just-as-smart-as-modern-humans.htm
        “Many people are tempted to pinpoint cognitive inferiority for Neanderthals’ demise, but archaeologists assert that there is no evidence to support this popular opinion.”

        So don’t think the science is settled on this one. There is plenty-o-axe grinding and shoe-horning of data to support agenda-driven theory.
        I have 2-3% “Neanderthal” DNA (whatever that means). 10 years ago I was told I had none because Neanderthals died off long before sapiens. So. What I know is that scientific theories change as data is revealed. We have not met a neanderthal so we do not “Know” much about them. IMO

      • True, science has to infer a lot about them, but we have more to go on now.
        DNA was collected from over a dozen individuals to assemble the whole genome.
        There is also now a lot more information about their occupation sites to fill in blanks on behavior and diet.
        There’s a new hypothesis that might appeal to you, ie that Neanderthals lost out because of reduced fertility in the male “hybrids”:
        http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/neanderthal-genes-found-in-modern-humans/2014/01/29/f7f81852-8774-11e3-a5bd-844629433ba3_story.html

      • Sturgis, remember that the species, subspecies arguments are about labels based on traits that we have grouped together as a way to organize organisms… and not about how the organisms organized themselves. That’s especially true when all we have is fossilized osteological evidence for a very limited number of individuals. My Physical Anthro’ professor pounded into our heads to ignore the Linnaean taxonomic labels when analyzing as it would bias our perceptions of the remains we were studying.

    • Neanderthal brains were on average a little bigger than those of moderns, but they were arranged differently.
      http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/280/1758/20130168
      Neanderthal brains focused on vision and movement (to control their massive bodies), leaving less room for the higher level thinking required to form large social groups. They were not as “smart” as Moderns, at least in terms of social intelligence.
      This fact has long been observed, based upon Neanderthal habitation sites.
      The characteristic occipital bun of Neanderthals, associated with their greater visual acuity, is rare in Moderns.
      Just because a Modern has a vestigial Neanderthal brow along with a Sub-Saharan African chin does not make him or her a “new human”. He or she is an anatomically modern human with a noticeable brow ridge.
      Neanderthals lived in North Africa as well as Europe and the Middle East, as far east as Uzbekistan. Among the many evidences that they were a true subspecies, ie “race” in the biological sense, is the fact that Moderns and Neanderthals co-existed for tens of thousands of years in regions like the Holy Land, yet maintained their distinctive traits and cultures. When the climate was colder, Levantine caves were occupied by Neanderthals. When warmer, the Moderns moved in.
      Until about 50,000 years ago, when Late Paleolithic Cro-Magnon culture developed (possibly earlier in Africa). Unlike Neanderthal culture, we highly adaptable Moderns are always changing. Neanderthal culture always remained Middle Paleolithic, although there are hints that at the very end they might have adopted some Cro-Magnon technology.
      When Moderns invaded Europe and farther afield in Africa and Asia, bringing their advanced Cro-Magnon culture with them, the jig was up for Neanderthals.

      • Sturgis Hooper
        March 21, 2015 at 9:00 am
        “Neanderthal brains focused on vision and movement (to control their massive bodies), leaving less room for the higher level thinking required to form large social groups.”
        Sounds to me like total conjecture. Neanderthals were smaller and bulkier than we but put one in modern clothes and he would be able to walk through a city without getting recognized. I know some work colleagues with quite massive bodies and I dispute the notion that they have larger brains than I.
        Also, I can’t see much higher level thinking in large social groups.

      • It’s not conjecture. It’s based upon cranial anatomy and primate studies.
        Brains don’t get importantly larger because of exercise. Neanderthals’ brains were about the same size as Moderns’ but arranged differently. This is visible in the size of area devoted to such functions as vision and movement. They were born that way, unlike the brains of body builders.

      • I remember reading somewhere a theory that Neanderthals were nocturnal hunters. Makes sense if you want to get close to large game. If so, it might explain visual differences

      • So much dope about soft tissue from so few fossilised remains 🙂
        We maybe ought to ponder upon population densities at the time in both Neanderthal and Cro Magnon groups ? Terms such as ‘Invasion’ may conjure quite a different picture from the reality whose real progress may well have been Glacial 🙂

      • Some of them might well have tasted a lot like chicken. Maybe the omnivorous or insectivorous ones. Or at least more than snake does.

      • Except short on the white meat.
        The keeled sternum with big breast muscles attached didn’t evolve until the Cretaceous.

  10. Geez…I didn’t realize what a COMPLIMENT being called a “Right Wing Conservative Neanderthal” actually is, at it’s base meaning. I need to get a tee shirt, with the WUWT website on it, and a picture of a Neanderthal on the back. (So there will be NO mistake as to my leanings, attitudes, etc.) Thanks for the heads up WUWT readers!

  11. Everyone knows their final demise came after Aaragorn raised the army of the dead to defend Minas Tirath and after Frodo battled with Golum which resulted in the One Ring being cast into Mount Doom. The subsequent eruption killing all Neanderthals that were in the opposing army of Sauron.

  12. yea….then there’s nothing to worry about
    “and emphasize the resilience of anatomically modern humans in the face of abrupt and adverse changes in the environment.”

  13. “Black and colleagues point out that temperatures in Western Europe would have decreased by an average of 2 to 4 degrees Celsius during the year following the eruption” based on their “model” projections.
    According to the IPCC (models) we humans live in a +2 to +4 degree C world as is. Yet, measurements and observations refute the IPCC’s claims and refute the “physics” employed by their models.
    Another paper that should have been rejected.

  14. The Campanian event in Italy was noted as the largest volcanic eruption to effect Europe in the last 200,000 years. It is estimated to have vented up to 72 sq mi (300 sq km) of ash over 1.4 million sq mi (3.7 M sq km). Wouldn’t one surmise that was sufficient bury enough Neanderthals up to their necks to critically alter the population without worrying about SO2 and climate?
    http://www.livescience.com/31560-ancient-super-eruption-larger.html

    • I agree, Paul. From the abstract, it appears Black et al seem less interested in the gigantic amount of dust ejected than with the chemical aerosols:

      To test the climatic importance of the Campanian eruption, we used a three-dimensional sectional aerosol model to simulate the global aerosol cloud after release of 50 Tg and 200 Tg SO2. We coupled aerosol properties to a comprehensive earth system model under last glacial conditions.

      I always assumed it was the massive dust cloud that does the most to change climates after a super-eruption? This feels like an attempt to salvage a failed research into ghg-induced catastrophe… just guessing.

    • It would also have buried sapiens up to their necks.
      Actually both lots were probably sapiens…sapiens sapiens and sapiens neanderthalensis.
      If they were genetically close but actually separate species they would be able to produce offspring but the offspring would not be viable/fertile [eg lions and tigers, horses and donkeys].
      If they produced viable offspring when they mated they would be, by definition, the same species.
      Most humans of European and Asian origin carry between 1% and 4% DNA of Neanderthal origin so mating between the two groups produced viable offspring. Neanderthals did not become extinct, they were just absorbed into the larger Asian and European sapiens sapiens population.
      Researchers have been unable to find any Neanderthal mitochondrial DNA in modern humans, suggesting that the mothers of sapiens sapiens and sapiens neanderthalensis children must have been modern humans.
      What was going on in those cold caves ?

      • Danny Vendramini, a Robert Ardrey-like student-author (and escapee from entertainment/script-writing) developed a Predatory Neanderthal theory. He has not been able to sell it effectively.
        DV says Neanderthal systematically attacked Modern types, eating them and leaving their calling-card with the females. Eventually, Moderns ‘got their back up’ and fought off & conquered the Predator. DV appears not to note, that over prolonged intromission of predator-aggressor genes, the Moderns were – by his construct – “given” the means to resist, by their Neander tormentor himself.

      • Neanderthals were certainly predators of big game animals, but going up against modern humans would have been an overmatch. Despite their superiority in one on one close combat, that’s not how the fights would have happened. Neanderthals would have been picked off one by one or in small groups. If a squad or platoon-scale skirmish did occur, modern tactical superiority would carry the day, IMO.
        The proof is in the pudding. We are here and they are not. Odds are that adult male Neanderthals were eaten and the women and kids either also or enslaved. Neanderthals were a lot meatier than lightly built moderns, with their tropical origins. And of course their brains and bone marrow were a great source of fat.

      • I doubt that Neanderthals could ever have assembled a platoon-sized unit of warriors. Their groups were too small. Even a squad of ten or 12 men would seem unlikely.

  15. It has always been my view that the Neanderthals must have had a more sophisticated social structure in view of the fact that they had managed to survive at least 4 ice ages. Without cooperation, investment and planning I cannot see how a fur less animal that takes 10 years to raise a new generation could have managed this incredible feat of survival. I believe this is what caused their larger brains to develop and is also the reason why most of the art and religious artifacts dating back to 40 000 years are found within regions where Neanderthals flourished. It is my guess that we have more than our immune system to thank the Neanderthals for.
    Furthermore I do not think the interbreeding of the last ice age was unique. My view is that the various breeds of modern humans ( Denisovians et al) were pushed together by the desertification of the African savanna and the ice encroachment in the North which accompanied each ice age cycle. This partial mixing of DNA under strong competitive pressures and subsequent migration of genetically diversified groups was a recipe for innovation.
    The startlingly fast evolution of modern man is a product of climate change. Climate change, like any other environmental challenge, is not to be feared it is to be embraced.

    • Neanderthals adapted to glacial advances by moving, just like the animals they hunted.
      Even H. erectus grade humans were able to live as far north as Britain during the interglacials, then retreated to Spain, Italy and the Balkans during glacials.
      Desertification alone didn’t drive the Neanderthals, Denisovans and Moderns together, although climate certainly affected the ranges of the subspecies. The expanding range of Moderns, with their advanced, Upper Paleolithic Aurignacian culture, did in their sister subspecies as separate races. The Neanderthals remained stuck in the Middle Paleolithic, with their Mousterian culture, until perhaps, as I mentioned, right before their end, when the Châtelperronian culture emerged, which appears to be Aurignacian elements grafted onto Mousterian and seems to be associated with Neanderthals rather than Cro-Magnons.

      • @Sturgis Hooper
        Hey, even those up to date humans had to abandon northern Europe during the Last Glacial Maximum. In western Europe, the survivors huddled together and hunkered down in the refugium of southern France and Spain, where they developed the spectacular Solutrean culture, with really impressive, beautiful big blades, just like the Spanish of today. Great artists, too.
        Then when it warmed up, they became Magdalenian reindeer herders and recolonized the north. So everyone in northwest Europe is Basque! Or would be if it hadn’t been for those Indo-European speaking interlopers from the east moving into the ‘hood and cutting down all the trees to plant grains.

    • But only after the Africans had lived in the Middle East for a very long time before invading Europe and East Asia. The Aurignacian shows up in the Zagros Mountains at least 50 ka. Fishing gear of Upper Paleolithic aspect has been tentatively dated to 70 ka in Sub-Saharan Africa.

      • Neanderthals were both shagged and bagged out of existence as a separate group. The AMH invaders made both love with and war on the natives. But it wouldn’t have taken much of either to do the trick. Simply outcompeting the locals for resources could account for the demise of the Neanderthals and rise of the Moderns. That and higher population density.
        If their interactions were like what has happened in recorded history and archaeology, Neanderthal males would have been killed and their women captured, which would almost have to voluntary, since a Neanderthal female would probably be stronger than the huskiest Modern male. Maybe they used nets or dead fall traps.
        Of course Neanderthals ate each other, especially the fat-rich brains, so the Moderns might have chowed down on the Neanderthals, too.

      • I have this mental picture of Neanderthal being the late George Foreman, and Early Modern being an under 21 rising star of the gloves. I dont think that systematic killing by one of the other is a viable explanation. Especially as the supposed loser seems far better suited to combative environments than the winner ? Superior organisational skills are not going to be a force multiplier, as the cultural evidence seems to suggest both were evenly matched in that regard ? Plus one needs to consider again and always, the pitifully small numbers involved in any interface. More likely some ailment carried by one, but deadly to the other, something like those old stories about Indian tribes being wiped out by the common cold ?

      • The moderns did have superior organizational skills, and probably numbers.
        But accidental germ warfare can’t be ruled out.
        Indians didn’t succumb to the common cold, but smallpox virus couldn’t have helped their chances to resist the invaders.

  16. One of the thoughts is the location of where the Neanderthals lived in comparison to modern humans at the time in general made them much more susceptible to any radiation increases that might have occurred due to a reduced earth magnetic field.

    • But moderns were already occupying the same latitudes as Neanderthals when the latter died out. For prior periods, you’re right, but they survived those.

  17. I wonder how this rates compared to the TOBA eruption 70,000 years ago. While not conclusive, the genetic studies show that all of humanity was reduced to between 2,000 and 20,000 breeding individuals at that time and it coincides with a massive SO2 deposit record in the ice cores taken from all over the southern hemisphere (not so much the northern, because the TOBA was in Sumatra.

    • The Toba eruption probably wiped out most of the humans [H. erectus] in southeast Asia [apart from the hobbits of Flores] as it was full to capacity, from a hunting and gathering perspective, and had been for around 2 million years.
      Toba removed the competition and modern humans moved in to take over the neighbourhood,

    • Toba was over an order of magnitude more powerful than Campi Flegrei. It’s the biggest volcanic event known from the Quaternary, with the unlikely but possible exception of Yellowstone’s Island Park Caldera.

  18. OK, they found some really old bones in Africa, does that mean that we are all “out-of-Africa?”, is the science settled?

    • It’s not settled. There are still holdouts who think that modern groups evolved in place on other continents with gene flow among them. But with each passing year the evidence mounts that all humans, ancient, modern and in between, originated in Africa, leaving the homeland in waves starting over 1.3 ma. There are however some minor differences among modern groups that derive from the extinct subspecies, Neanderthals and Denisovans.

      • Sturgis – agreed.
        The science on human evolution most certainly is not settled.
        Whilst out of Africa is – generically – probably [I Think >95%] correct – we do not know which species (or sub-species) gave rise to Homo sapiens (sapiens) {If, like some, you consider neanderthalis a separate species; and heidelbergis and georgicus . . . . .}.
        But – agreed? No.
        Certainly not, at this stage . . . .
        Auto

      • I most certainly do not consider Neanderthals a separate species. They were a subspecies of H. sapiens quite close to us, ie H. sapiens sapiens, but with important differences.
        On the bases of anatomy and behavior, it seems likely to me that H. heidelbergensis was the ancestor of both the (originally) sub-Saharan African subspecies H. s. sapiens and the more northerly and intercontinental H. s. neanderthalensis.

  19. Okay, Chief, let me see if I’ve got this right . . . we still don’t know what happened to the Neanderthals.

  20. Sturgis – it’s obvious that you have studied the “early man” discoveries in depth. Thank you for sharing your expertise with us.
    By any chance did you have a chat with Jean Auel while she was writing?

    • After she wrote, yes, but not during or before.
      She writes fiction, so it might not really matter, but she got a lot wrong even in the state of what was supportable thirty years ago. She freely admits to making a bunch of stuff up, and why not? Who knows?
      You’re welcome.

  21. This has been a favorite area of debate for me for a very long time. This eruption would have happened just as modern humans were migrating into the area. More importantly than the direct impact of any local climate changes would have been the impact to migrating herds of animals that the Neanderthal likely depended on. The ash from this eruption covered a broad area deep enough to kill the grasses and other life that existed at ground level. Any herds migrating into this area would have starved. In some Eastern Europe locations (mainly in what is now Bulgaria) under the ash layer in favorable settlement areas we see the Mousterian technology of the Neanderthal. Above the ash layer, we see the technology of early modern humans above. There has also been reported a clear delineation of middle to upper neolithic technology associated with the tephra layer.

  22. just say contributed to the decline and the debate is over…the less you know the more you can assume…

  23. It occurs to me that I’m currently working 10 km from the Neanderthal (Tal is German for valley, the Neanderthal is the place where the Neanderthal was found). And the place has twice the precipitation of the rest of Germany, and is constantly foggy all day. So I posit that the Neanderthal just didn’t get around much and adapted to an extremely damp shady climate.

    • Funny thing about the Neander Tal is that it was named in the 17th century for a pastor who called himself Joachim Neander, the Greek version of his German family name Neumann, which of course means “New Man”. Before about 1850, ie right before the discovery of the Old Man, the name of the feature was changed from Neander’s Hollow (Neandershöhle) to the Neander Valley (Neaderthal). Then later the spelling was changed from Thal to Tal.
      The name change may have been because there had been so much limestone mining that the shape of the feature changed. German limestones have been very good for archaeology and paleontolgy, to include the bird-like dinosaur, Archaeopteryx.

      • The Weichselian climate of the Neander was probably even more dismal than now, colder, winder and drier, but still it was prime Neanderthal habitat because of water and shelter, in the form of the caves pockmarking its limestone formations. The water would also have attracted game.

  24. “Scientists have long debated whether this eruption contributed to the final extinction of the Neanderthals.”
    ————
    Final extinctions are much worse than temporary extinctions.

      • I had my ante-pre-pen-ultimate extinction a couple of years ago.
        Apparently.
        I am (Type II) diabetic, and didn’t know I was liable to ‘silent ischaemia’ – that’s like a heart attack you have, but don’t feel.
        I had a Company medical – which highlighted this likely issue.
        The NHS gave me an echo-cardiogram, which confirmed the problem.
        I then had a stent – plus ‘minor’ balloon work (‘angioplasty’?) – about a fifth of a year ago.
        So – look out for these ante-pre-personal-extinction events . . . . .
        And – if you are put on statins – SUGAR – if you feel lousy – o back to the doc and say – ‘I’m stopping taking this statin. Give me another’.
        Here [at least] the docs do not emphasise that – and I think they should. Muchly!
        Live long and be (very) happy!
        Auto

  25. Sturgis Hooper March 21, 2015 at 12:04 pm
    It is likely some genes are 100% neanderthal, and are expressed. Genetic crossover events between homologous sequences in human and neanderthal chromosomes would mix mommy’s and daddy’s DNA in gametes. Subsequent generations would have mixed segments of sapiens and neanderthalis DNA. Add to that founder effects, and it is very reasonable we have Neanderthal sequences. Today, segments of chromosomes are identified as Neanderthal. These presumably contain various genes, including all exons, introns, control elements, and intervening non-coding “junk” DNA. That’s a bit more than just some Neanderthal alleles. The original sapiens sequences could be entirely lost in Europeans.

  26. It it still true that we have no Neanderthal mitochondrial DNA?
    So all the surviving lineages with Neanderthal gene-content originated from only the male-Neanderthal and female-AMH combination?
    While forced crossings could certainly have been prevalent, isn’t the outcome suggestive that male Neanderthal could have been acceptable and even attractive, at least part of the time, to female-AMH?
    With bias-crossing patterns (many carry a strong bias) in modern populations, it is virtually universal that a minority will buck the dominant trend. Although such crossings are typically biased about 25%-75% … the role of the 1 in 4 who buck the norm is not insignificant.
    Even Charles Manson in his 70s has a comely thing with a yen for his sorry case.
    With male-AMH sometimes finding something in a Neanderthal female, and said female for some reason (rebelliousness appearing to be the common factor) putting up with said pathetic male-AMH … the durability & persistence of mtDNA should have favored & increased its retention (relative to diploid DNA contributions from the extinct Neanderthal).
    Indeed, reading between the lines a bit, when science came round to the idea that maybe these crossing did happen, they looked first for mtDNA (that also being the only kind they could acquire, at first). And between the lines, the labs were surprised to draw a blank.
    So what’s up with that? The cover-story doesn’t seem to cover it very well …

    • Ted,
      You are correct. Neanderthal mitochondrial DNA is way different from modern human groups and from the moderns living at the same time as they.
      Before the whole Neanderthal genome was sequenced, this divergence in mtDNA gave ammunition to those who wanted to regard moderns and Neanderthals as different species.
      We can only speculate, more or less educatedly, as to the implications of this fact. Intuitively it seems more likely that Neanderthal women mated under whatever circumstances with modern men, at least to produce offspring who contributed to present genomes, but the lack of Neanderthal mt DNA doesn’t necessarily undercut this assumption. There just is too little Neanderthal material in modern genomes for Neanderthal mother’s mt DNA to have survived so many generations of modern reproduction.

    • If you got a Neanderthal fellow out today, gave him a shave, and a decent haircut, plus some nice threads, he would not look too out of place. Certainly you could have him walk abroad and not cause much interest at all 🙂
      As for the Neanderthal women, I dont know, but maybe they would be similar to Klingon women, who did after all have certain charms 🙂

      • I expect that Neanderthal women among us would receive plenty of favorable attention, and would be receptive of it. We aren’t different species, though sometimes I misstate myself. And look at the range of sizes, shapes and styles represented among our own sub-populations.
        Incidentally, the male Y chromosome has a very similar non-recombining character as the maternal mitochondrial DNA – it does not reshuffle with each mating. Y is of great interest for genealogy, and population-tracing … and there is excitement that we have found older & older examples of this stable genetic artifact. Pres. Thomas Jefferson was studied due to his family’s denial of African American relatives … and his Y is a well-known type that is believe to date to 42,000 years ago – back to the time in which this Post is set!
        Other Y chromosomes have proven much older yet, and – this is my point – there is some hope that with diligent searching we may find living people carrying the Homo erectus Y.

  27. If it really wiped out Neanderthals this ignumbrite stuff must have had an uncanny ability to distinguish moderns from Neanderthals and selectively aim its destructiveness only at Neanderthals. But if you want to know the truth, this and other volcanic eruptions simply did not cause any of that volcanic cooling that has been inculcated into your brain. What passes for volcanic cooling on numerous global temperature charts is nothing more than misidentification of El Nino valleys as volcanic cooling valleys.These so-called “volcanologists” have been scratching their heads about the strange observation that some volcanoes are followed by a distinct volcanic cooling while others are not. A recent comparison is El Chichon and Pinatubo. Pinatubo is followed by an alleged “volcanic cooling” while El Chichon is not.Pinatubo was studied at length by Self et al. (See “Fire and Mud” by Newhall and Punongbayan). They are clueless because they want to attribute floods along the Mississippi river in the summer of 1993 and drought in the Sahel to Pinatubo cooling. And then they state that “…surface cooling is clearly documented for some eruptions (for example, Gunung Agung, Bali, in 1963 as reported by … Hansen et al 1978) but not others, for example, El Chichon in Mexico in 1982…” Hansen’s name on a paper should be waening of pseudo-science to come and he does not disappoint us here. Self at al. were so close to the explanation of the observations but they simply did not take that one final step that would have made them them scientists instead of technicians. It would have required them to understand that the sawtooth pattern of global temperature curves is a densely packed concatenation of El Nino peaks with La Nina valleys and put that knowledge to use. Maybe not their fault if their climate courses left it out, Volcanic eruptions are not synchronized with the ENSO oscillation and when a volcano erupts it may coincide with any part of ENSO.. If it coincides with an El Nino peak it will be followed by a La Nina valley that looks like volcanic cooling. If it coincides with a La Nina valley it will be followed by an El Nino warm peak that is nothing like the expected cooling. The first case is like Pinatubo and will be followed by a regular La Nina valley. the second is like El Chichon and is followed immediately by an El Nino warm peak. There are also intermediate cases where the eruption coincided with an intermediate region between an El Nino peak and a La Nina valley. But so ingrained is this false teaching about volcanic cooling that it is even built into the climate models used by the IPCC. The CMIP5 models, for example, have an El Chichon cooling built into their software module despite the fact that there is no such thing in the real world as El Chichon cooling. What remains to be done is for someone to clean up the mess on existent global warming curves that show non-existent volcanic coolings inscribed onto them thanks to the pseudo-science of Hansen and his likes.

  28. This paper goes into the same category as others which deny human-caused extinction of large mammals, that category being the modern-day sociology of peoples’ reluctance to accept unpalatable truths.

    • Could be. Perhaps more comforting for some to imagine that a volcano wiped out most of the Neanderthals, so the peace-loving Moderns just moved in to unpopulated territory recovering from the blast, to provide aid, comfort and TLC to the few surviving traumatized Neanderthal natural disaster victims.
      But the history of Modern genocide and ecocide makes this peaceable kingdom scenario less plausible. Thousands of years before the eruption there is already evidence of mass murder in the Balkans. So different from today.
      Not.

  29. Sturgis Hooper
    March 21, 2015 at 10:09 am
    Ted Clayton
    March 21, 2015 at 2:46 pm
    Thanks for a wonderful education on early “Man”. I look to WUWT for these gems that come along and bring people like you two (and others) here. This thread was a somewhat silly thesis that offered an explanation for extinction of Neanderthal 25000 years ago when they were nearly already there. I didn’t expect it to become one of the most educational pieces of year.
    I don’t have a link, but I remember someone telling me that remains of a family group of Neanderthal found in a cave, I believe, in Iran had two members who were looked after by the others. One had his face broken in and was probably at least partly blind and had a deformed arm from the accident. There was no way this fellow could have lived long enough for his bones to heal and he certainly cloudn’t hunt. The other was a man they determined to be much older than normal expectation for the subspecies. He had sever arthritis and other debilitating infirmities. Clearly it infers a caring creature who hunted for and protected these members of the group, a surprising discovery at the time. Have you heard of this?

    • You might be thinking of Shanidar Cave in Iraqi Kurdistan:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanidar_Cave
      Evidence has mounted of Neanderthal care for children, the aged and infirm. Neanderthals were so subject to traumatic accidents that they could hardly have survived otherwise. But their group were small.

    • Yes, Shanidar 1
      And the original Neander Tal specimen was hunched & bowed & twisted so badly, workers famously interpreted the then-new species as being only partly-erect and having a shuffling gait; the original Trogolodyte-brute … and indeed that was an accurate description of this individual, but it was because of his advance geriatric status and crippling arthritis, not that his species was poorly-evolved. That a person in such a state could survive in those conditions – the very first example found – says that helping each other was unlikely to have been unusual. Since then we have uncovered almost a parade of variously disabled Neanderthals.

      • In such small groups, where your human neighbors were a greater threat even than the impressive array of carnivore predators, every member was valuable.
        Neanderthals didn’t even have dogs to warn them of leopards, wolves and hyenas in the night, nor to attack lions and bears on the prowl.
        The little family groups were alone in a hostile world.

  30. It’s seldom mentioned in articles like these that even at their height, the Neanderthal population never went above about 20,000. That includes the whole of Europe and the Middle East. There’s more polar bears in the arctic than that, even now. So this is a pretty fragile and easily threatened population.

  31. Did H.s.sapiens at that time have burial rituals? If so, that might exaggerate the difference between subspecies.

      • Some researchers think that Neanderthals had burial rituals, but others disagree. It’s assumed that Moderns did.
        Moderns must have been far more numerous than Neanderthals and Denisovans. Not only did they occupy prime habitat in tropical and southern subtropical Africa, but by 40 ka had already spread out across the Middle East and South Asia to Australia. They were moving into Central and North Asia as well as Europe, invading the turf of Neanderthals and Denisovans.

      • (B)urial rituals … might exaggerate the (lopsided population) difference between subspecies.

        As opposed to surface-interment rituals, and collected at central (living-site) locations, that makes sense. If we are finding a good portion of AMH remains in burials.
        However, the Venus figurines attest to massive milk-production capabilities, well back into the Paleolithic. The earliest go back to the time-frame of this Post. They are our earliest figurine-artifacts, and the oldest of all pottery/ceramic objects. They dominate Stone Age art. It is easy to infer that there was ‘something going on’, connected to these fecund little dolls … reasonably boiling down to a baby-factory-culture.

  32. “brokenyogi March 21, 2015 at 5:19 pm”
    The likely reached their apex of population during the last interglacial when they reached from the Levant, across what is Turkey, around the Caspian, across Kazakhstan into what is now Russia. During the last glaciation they were pushed back out of the plains by cold at the same time they were coming under pressure from early modern man from the south. By the time that volcano erupted, they had likely already lost half to two-thirds of their range. By that time they had regressed from hunting mammoth on the plains to chasing aurochs and reindeer through the woods.
    Coprolite samples from Neanderthal living sites show they were absolutely riddled with parasites (hookworm, pinworm) in Europe toward the end. It is believed very few lived to be older than 35 years old. Horrific “rodeo” injuries are evident as they apparently wrestled huge animals with their bare hands in some cases. So by the end they would have been sickly, malnourished, diet including more berries and nuts indicating difficulty in hunting.
    So we have a population that during the last interglacial (which was warmer than this one) were probably migratory plains dwellers much like the plains tribes of the US (before horses arrived) being driven into a more forested, wetter, colder area and probably becoming much less migratory, instead depending on the animals doing the migrating into their areas because they could not follow them into areas occupied by early modern man.
    That eruption would have cut off those migration patterns of the animals and further isolated them. The flooding of what is now the Adriatic Sea might have been the final death knell for them. That area would have been a broad flat plain watered by the Po river that would have been a likely paradise for European bison, deer, and other migratory animals Once that area was flooded, there was likely a huge change in the ecology of that part of Europe and areas to the east. What is now the Adriatic was likely a huge wintering ground for various game species. Same when the Med rose high enough to exchange water with the Black Sea. The ecology there changed greatly, too.

    • If they ‘Wrestled’ large animals, it sort of suggests that even were Early Modern’s slightly more numerous, physical confrontation would have been a poor strategy for the newcomers ? So again I’m thinking that ‘Pressure’ inferring dominance could be the wrong slant. Of course I’m making the assumption of comparable cognitive abilities, and that the primitive human style of aggression whereby there is no shame in killing the young and vulnerable of competitors had yet to become a trait in those early days.

      • The modern invaders would have avoided close combat with Neanderthals at all costs. One of the great advantages of the Cro-Magnons’ Aurignacian culture was advanced projectile weapons, but even more so their tactical and indeed strategic thinking.
        It was really nolo contendre, even more so than the firearm and steel weapon-armed Spanish v. hordes Aztec and Inca warriors (although admittedly aided by disease and the native enemies of those oppressive empires).

      • As mentioned (Sturgis Hooper March 22, 2015 at 12:04 pm), it would have been no contest. It would have been about the same as the Inuit and Thule against the Dorset people. The Neanderthal had no bows/arrows. In fact, what early modern was experimenting and rapidly evolving their technology, Neanderthal technology remained frozen in time for over 100,000 years. It would be almost as if their technology was itself ritual or something. Early modern archers could take out Neanderthal from a distance with bows and slings. It doesn’t appear that Neanderthal even threw rocks for hunting. They apparently had to close with their target to be within range to jab them with a spear, much like the Dorset people in the Arctic and probably suffered much the same fate as the Dorset did when facing a superior tech. The Dorset would simply run if they survived the arrows.

      • There is no sign of the bow & arrow until the transition between the upper Paleolithic and the early Mesolithic, about 10,000 years ago. The Neanderthal were long-gone, well before the advent of the bow.
        The modern-type humans who encountered the Neanderthal had no long-range or high-speed projectile-weapon. They had spears, and possibly the atlatl.
        Although the Neanderthal appear to have favored the hand-held spear which is wielded much like a pike (which were a leading choice of elite mercenary personnel & forces during the Middle Ages, right up until gunpowder), intimations that they were incapable of throwing a spear, or that they would be befuddled by others doing so, take the legitimate factors too far.
        For starters, the anatomy that gave the Neanderthal his advantage with the thrusting-spear, is common in modern populations. We don’t have to wonder how this detail of the upper-body build would affect their throwing – millions of us have this trait today.
        Absolutely, this shoulder-construction can indeed throw. It lacks the ‘spring-loaded’ fling-throw action prized in Major League pitchers, and which we think became important with earliest Homo, or perhaps even in Australopithecus.
        But this shoulder-type absolutely & certainly does still throw, and is particularly adapted to throwing heavy things. It can’t reach the highest throwing-speeds with light-weight objects, but it has excellent control & accuracy coupled with unusual leverage, and excels at ‘power-throwing’. Neanderthal could pitch cannonballs across the home-plate at deadly speeds. They would not use the same motion as a top pitcher, but they could lay down heavy artillery fire at considerable range.
        Early Cro Magnon did not have the bow, and Neanderthal certainly inherited the basic human throwing instincts & proclivities that had been burned into the early-human genome for a million or two years, by the time they emerged as a separate population.

    • That’s a good one Max. But seriously, there is some willful data selection going on, or good ol’ selection-bias, in the characterization of Modern Human as being within a particular type-range, and not including some of those other types or having that much range.
      We used to have ectomorph, endomorph and mesomorph body or “Somatic Types”. This is no longer freely circulating, but it was & remains basically ‘just observational’. (The basic Biology principle referenced may have been weak; that these over-all body types (and whispered, mental traits … which any dairy/beef farmer will affirm do exist too) arise from differential emphasis on ecto, endo or mesothelium foundation-tissues during development (ontogeny?).)
      Tragedies in the Killing Fields and Africa have been met by local folks collecting skulls and neatly stacking them in low walls. Journalists documenting events include photos of these collections … unintentionally recording quite-surprising variation in cranial features.
      And then, though it may be half a million years back, the modern type and the Neanderthal do share a common ancestor, which had diversified in partially-isolated populations for a long time. We can readily harbor ‘primitive’ traits that may or may not be ‘actually’ Neanderthal, but will typically be credited as such.
      I am 5’7″ and wear an XL shirt. Medium-build, classic mesomorph. Huge teeth, with even more-dismaying roots. ‘Neanderthal’ shoulder-rotation.
      Neanderthal-shoulder is the basis for the claim that these people could not throw well, did not have throwing-spears, and that they had great power & torque which favored the close-quarters attack and even ‘wrestling’ large game.
      You can test for Neanderthal-shoulder (most with it already know they are ‘different’). The fast, easy, accurate & safe test is, lay down on the floor and fully extend the arms so they are laying stretched-out on the floor, ‘over your head’. Pick your spot so your hands lay on the floor between a door-frame. Palms-up.
      Now, have a child or small adult stand on your hands (balancing with their hands on the door-frame), and lift them straight up, keeping the arms fully extended. This is a severely-disadvantageous lift-angle, for ‘standard’ people. ‘Can’t do it’, even with a light weight, typically (don’t strain at it – it’s not a Test To Destruction! ;).
      If you have The Shoulder, it’s easy. Mesomorphs with this configuration (it is mainly a matter of how muscles anchor into the shoulder-blade) can perform this seemingly-adverse lift very nearly as easily as they can do a straight bench-press, or push-up.
      A second test, which carries a significant risk of injury, is to lay face-down on the floor with the arms again extended overhead, and ‘bridge’ yourself up off the floor. With ‘the shoulder’, one pops right up off the floor. They sell little wheels with the axle extending out either side as handles, which guys use to practice this exercise.
      You can ‘work-up’ to the face-down bridge, by starting from a kneeling push-up position (‘girls push-up’), and start moving the hands further & further out in front of yourself. You can also start with the wheel directly beneath you, going out just a little at a time, but the wheel is squirrely, esp. at first, and hazardous.
      Yet at the same time, I have a short torso, very short arms, and a ‘Paul Newman’ baby-face and short, compact jaw … all of which are not-Neanderthal.
      Neanderthal had no Trademark, Patent or chicken-wing-lock on probably any of the traits ‘classically’ associated with them … and worse, we often see Neandermall and Bufforilla specimens with clearly not-modern but also not-Neander traits.

      • I doubt that bows and arrows were part of the Aurignacian tool kit, but spear throwers (atl-atls) probably were. This discusses the Neanderthal projectile problem:
        http://phys.org/news151326825.html
        Interestingly, the H. heidelbergensis ancestor of moderns and Neanderthals did apparently use javelins, both pure wood and stone-tipped:
        http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/11/131126-oldest-javelins-stone-weapons-projectiles-human-evolution-science/
        http://www.sci-news.com/archaeology/article00592.html

      • This discusses the Neanderthal projectile problem:
        http://phys.org/news151326825.html

        This paper further-belabors the known-known – that Neanderthal aren’t hot properties in MLB.
        Many people and groups who are sub-optimum at throwing, though, still get good things done with it. Tim Tebow has a goofy, awkward throwing-motion. The best throwing-coaches & trainers in the history of the planet tried to cure him of it, unsuccessfully. And he still beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, using that crude throwing-style that no team would hire.
        The Army had a ‘regulation’ way to throw a hand-grenade, but serious warriors often would practice both the official way, and their ‘wrong’ way which they could get better results with. Many people actually cannot throw the right way, well at all.
        Old-time Eskimos still made a decent living, under the worst of conditions, largely relying on spears launched from their squat, round bodies and short, heavy arms, wrapped in a cocoon of leather layers. Old-time Pygmies proudly posed for National Geographic with their spears. Pygmies a match for the Massi? No way – but they got the job done.
        Anyone who rides herd on or hangs around a bunch of little kids knows that the expression of throwing (and hitting) behaviors is deeply instinctual. That is why we see so many who are throwing-compromised, nonetheless assiduously cultivating their relatively unimpressive skill at it, pouring sustained effort into compensating for often multiple maladaptations & shortcomings in the throwing-department.
        Many of us are not the world’s best lovers, but good ol’ instinct (ie, a built-in reward for the behavior) keeps us working at it anyway.
        Throwing really bears comparison to firearms. You don’t have to be real good, a high-achiever, or genetically-favored. Adequate; half-blind, unsteady & all – is good enough.
        And that’s why it’s a case of sweet-talking ourselves down a Primrose Path – an unforced intellectual error – to lean heavily on Neanderthal’s no-doubt sub-optimum throwing-anatomy as a key or pivotal factor in their replacement by modern humans.
        Home erectus was also present at very light levels on the land. H. heidelbergensis, likewise few & far between. In this regard, Neanderthal was only carrying on venerable tradition. Were these people failures or failing, because they had a small population, or lived in small groups? Actually, a robust population had never existed, before the modern type.
        My default explanation is, pre-modern humans were born fighting, and got better at it through constant life-long practice. They attacked & killed each other until the scattered survivors were too hard to reach or find. That’s why their numbers were low, and genetic bottlenecks arose at times.
        Modern humans swamped-out their preceding groups (and in some ways, betters), in the bedroom and at the kitchen table. Check out those Venus figurines. That, and we have a marginally reduced need to go for each others’ throat at the first chance/excuse … we can tolerate each other in larger numbers, and at higher densities. Neanderthal & Co were Yanomamo on major drugs.

    • The Neandermalls are just morbidly obese Moderns. And the staff are just morbidly stupid Moderns. But at least they have jobs.
      There were few fat Neanderthals.
      Great joke, though.

  33. This question has a super duper easy answer: No.
    Since homosapien-neanderthal and homosapien-sapien interbred it is biologically incorrect to classify them as separate species (which is defined as two organism unable to produce viable offspring). So no. Neanderthal man was not “wiped out” by anything.

    • That’s simply not true. Lions and tigers, for example, can interbreed, but they are still considered separate species. The same is true of many members of the same genus, who can interbreed but are still considered separate species.
      Even so, Neanderthalis is usually considered a sub-species of homo sapiens, not an entirely different species. Modern humans are referred to as homo sapiens sapiens to differentiate them.

      • By the definition of a species, if they can produce viable offspring they are the same species. The term is a technical definition. While popular usage attributed the term to things which can share genes to produce viable young, it is factually incorrect to do so.

    • Nothing prevents subspecies or even local populations from being wiped out, as have been so many tribes throughout human history. Even if some of their genes survive, as a distinct group, they’re gone. In the case of Neanderthals, with at the very most 40% of their genome surviving, spread around among modern humans, there can be no doubt that they were effectively wiped out. None of their distinguishing, characteristic anatomy remains in a single individual. No one today shows their defining brain, skull and other anatomical features. Their culture likewise is entirely kaput.

      • The skulls characterised as “Neanderthal” fit entirely within the 98th percentile of divergence from the average size and shape of modern homosapien-sapiens .There are two percent of human beings on this planet with a more “Neanderthal” skull than any Neanderthal skull found to date.

      • Nobody alive today exhibits all the classical Neanderthal distinguishing characteristics (some changed slightly over 300,000 years), either cranial or post-cranial, let alone both. Very few exhibit even one or some of them.

  34. While living on Molokai (Hawaiian Island), I was astonished to meet a very nice Christian woman who had all the obvious features of a Neanderthal, sloping forehead, extremely prominent brow ridge, no chin, stocky build, etc. As a native Hawaiian, she showed a heavily Austroloid heritage, but then, did Neanderthal genes ever occur in Austroloid populations? I’ve been wondering about this for years now. Somebody?

    • Austroloids have some Neander and more Denisovan as I recall it.
      Having many “primative” traits myself, I am likely high in Neander ancestry. Including large head, large teeth, small larynx, short legs, long thick body, long arms, etc, etc. INHO, Neanders were smarter (so did not need as much material culture) but the males had a fondness for those thin agile Modern women… and as a result the species disappeared along with the mtDNA. Much like central asian graves start out European types, then some Asian women mixed in, and eventually the current population ends up almost all Asian type with the odd redhead… no war needed. Just a gradual transition in a couple of thousand years.

      • Neanderthals’ bodies were short, not long, at least by modern European standards. They were compact.
        They were not smarter than moderns. Their capacity for innovation was limited at best.
        No Neanderthal Y chromosomes have yet been found in modern humans, so your scenario appears implausible.
        If it came to a fight between male moderns and Neanderthals over the modern women, the natives would lose. Their numbers were too few, their technology too primitive and their organizational skills too limited.
        As for East Asian bodies appearing in Central Asian graves, that too was much more likely war than sexual attractiveness. Waves of Mongolian invaders changed the genetic mix of Central Asia, and before them Huns, Avars, etc.
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1180246/

  35. “Claim: Did volcanic induced climate change wipe out Neanderthals 40,000 years ago?”
    No…….they were just relocated to 760 United Nations Plaza, New York, New York 10017, United States.

  36. I have a pet theory. As a geologist who has studied paleontology and is aware of the “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” principle (it seems poets we are not) which, simply put says that critters (including us) re-pass through our evolution in the course of our early development- embryo through early childhood. It is hard to not conclude this with such things as the key-hole brachiopod (shellfish) which has an ancestor in which the shell grows out in two lobes the edges of which coalesce, leaving an open hole through the shell. In the more modern relative, this “keyhole” of the ancient adult is present in the young shell but fills in with maturity. Many examples, like the evolution of the horse (train of fossils in rocks of increasingly younger age) are most convincing.
    In humans, we tend to end the process after the child is born, probably because of the hubris of the commanding species. Having raised six children plus two nieces, I believe I could see the simian behavior of the pre-language infant, the Neanderthal, demanding, unreasoning of the 2-4 year old, the cromagnon enightenment of the 8 year old…….

  37. Cultures have long memories – And those memories both save lives (only the survivors of some past disaster remember the threat!) but those memories will not doubt be based on some original fact that some original bard or songwriter or poet and “priest” actually saw.
    Thus, just like the universal tradition of “dragons” can be traced to actual dinosaur fossils found in rocks and cliffs, should not we “find” Neanderthal bones and skulls found in caves across Europe in the verbal traditions of trolls, giants, and orcs?

  38. “I resent being told I interbred with Neanderthals!”
    We know what you did last summer!

  39. If Sturgis Hooper is right in his statement that there is no evidence of Y chromosome Neanderthal DNA in modern humans then does this not present a conundrum? This would suggest no inheritance via the male line yet the lack of mtDNA would suggest no inheritance via the female line!
    What if the marauding theory is true but with an additional idea that they may have had the primitive idea that boys were the offspring of the father and that girls were the offspring of the mother. Is it possible that women who were raped by these stone age “Vikings” would kill their male offspring. That would at least explain the data.
    Hooper’s other assertions that the Neanderthals were less technically advanced and were poorly organised needs some supporting evidence. As others have argued they appear to have cared for their sick and had art and religion. There is little evidence of any of these things in so called sapiens sapiens until they met up with the Neanderthals. In my view technology and culture evolved in the Neanderthals rather than the other way round but it is really all guesswork at the moment.

    • There is abundant evidence for modern art, music, painting, fishing and advanced technology long before we encountered Neanderthals.
      There is very little evidence for similar behaviors among Neanderthals, all of it questionable. As noted above, their stone-working technology didn’t change for hundreds of thousands of years, until possibly at the very end, when they may have copied moderns.
      I pointed out that Neanderthal population was small and scattered. Their occupation sites show much smaller groups than among moderns. Besides which their brains show less development in the centers responsible for higher thought and social reasoning, but more development in regions for vision and bodily movement. The remains show far more degenerative disease, trauma, sickness, infection and injury than moderns from the same period. They always lived close to extinction. It didn’t take much to push them over. They were doomed even without the Campanian eruption.
      Your boy baby killing scenario makes no sense. Neither mtDNA nor Y chromosomes from Neanderthals have been found among living humans. Neanderthals were effectively wiped out. When you leave only 2% of your genes in the non-sub-Saharan African population and maybe only 20% of your genes exist, you’re extinct as a sub-species.
      Extinct American Indian tribes have left far more of a genetic signature than Neandedrthals, yet nobody claims that Arawaks still exist.

      • I should also mention again however that the male hybrids apparently suffered reduced fertility, which is not surrpising from cross sub-species mating.

  40. deeply implemented genetic drift by ‘volcanic induced
    climate change’ –
    humans only.

  41. They were voted out of the group at the subspecies conference and 97 percent were in agreement. It’s all in the report and cave journals, don’t you know

  42. Well it could have been the case, but what do palaeoanthropologists say about this from skeletal remains. Neanderthals had evolved for a cold climate, body shape rather like the Inuits who had a metabolism that converted energy from fat and protein.not carbohydrates, but they didn’t live near glaciers, and hunted mainly rather than gathering. They were protein or meat eaters only. Nor did they fish from evidence found. They did not live long either. We are not sure about their numbers either. The more technologically advanced Homo sapien sapiens from Africa seem to have genetically dominated eventually. But surprisingly some modern Asian races DNA can only date back to around 70,000 years ago although there is evidence and fossils of archaic humans. But a large volcanic eruption like Toba is thought to have killed off a lot of archaic humans. But if your food source is killed too, and there is no evidence megafauna or other mammals in Europe, that modern humans did hunt also, to have died out It was probably a warm interglacial that killed them off eventually and it is believed that they drifted off North to follow the mammoths. I don’t believe this either, if they could not breed and their offspring breed they would have died out naturally. Maybe some females or children came to interbreed with modern humans too.
    There is sparse evidence of this too.

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