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Twilight Of The Neandertals By Kate Wong

832 words - 4 pages

The Neandertals lived between 30,000 and 150,000 years ago in Europe, the Near and Middle East, and in Western Asia. Compared to our other human ancestors, much more is known about Neandertals due to a larger fossil record, of which several hundred fossils have been found. Despite this, the question of how the Neandertals met their end is still prominent in their field of paleoanthropology today. In Twilight of the Neandertals by Kate Wong, several theories of how the Neandertals might have met their end are addressed, and the role of the early Homo sapiens in the demise of the Neandertals is speculated.
Wong first discusses the possibility that harsh climate killed the last Neandertals. ...view middle of the document...

The long held notion that Neandertals were not as “advanced” as the moderns has recently been challenged, with examples proving that Neandertals and early humans engaged in the same activities, particularly at the site of Hohle Fels, and also had the same speech gene as modern humans had. Other theories suggest that humans wore better clothing than Neandertals, and therefore were better prepared against the environment, and that the male hunting of humans allowed woman to take care of young, while among Neandertals woman and child aided in hunting large game. Neandertals are also speculated to have required more food to sustain themselves than modern humans, due to their large build, which led to their demise when competition from humans came. Despite all these theories, no conclusive answer to why the Neandertals died out has been proven.
In Wong’s article, she speculates on the answers that the analysis of the Neandertals genome and how it may lead to an answer to why the Neandertals died out, and whether the Neandertals interbred with humans. The complete analysis of the Neandertal genome has since been published, preserved for thousands of years due to cold climates (lecture). The analysis of the DNA, done by the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and 454 Life Sciences proposes a date for the split between Neandertals and Homo sapiens, between 270,000 and 440,000 years ago (Stanford et...

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