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Human Evolution. Neanderthals: Their Disappearance.

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Neanderthals: their disappearance

We may never know why 28,000 years ago in Europe when Homo sapiens had already arrived, all Neanderthals disappeared.

Much has been speculated about whether our human ancestors were responsible or not. More recent theories suggest that had little to do or better yet, we had nothing to do.

Computer simulations show that even if Neanderthals had a birth rate slightly lower than that of humans, or if they had a shorter life expectancy, these small differences would have been enough to make them disappear.

If only Neanderthal females took longer to wean their kids, this mere fact multiplied over thousands of generations would result in humans taking over.

If we add the possibility that these conditions were combined, plus the fact that there were climate changes and Neanderthals had a poor diet, then the conclusion is that although they survived in Europe for more than 100,000 years, their extinction was inevitable.

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