Interviewee: Chris Stringer.
Human origins expert Chris Stringer speculates on the extinction of the Neandertals.
(DNAi Location: Applications > Human origins > Comparisons > Behavior > Coping with rapid change)
Modern people came into Europe about 35,000 to 40,000 years ago, there was a short period of coexistence with the Neandertals, and then the Neandertals disappeared. And certainly it seems, you know, more than a coincidence that their disappearance coincided with the arrival of modern people. So there was probably an interaction between those populations, and recent work and I've been talking about that at the conference, also shows the climate was very unstable at the time that modern humans came into Europe. And so it was changing very rapidly to warm conditions back to cold conditions, just in a few thousand years, changing very very rapidly backwards and forwards, and these changes occurred, probably over a ten-year period. So the populations of Europe, in fact the plants, the animals, the human populations would have been extremely stressed by these very rapid changes. And the Neandertals perhaps were just, that bit less good at coping with that rapid change.
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