There's no evidence of systematic conflict between Neanderthals and
homo sapiens. The two species seem to have lived side-by-side in
Europe for several thousand years. But Neanderthals displayed far
less flexibility and creativity in their behavior. According to the
archaeologist Paul Mellars, "the most remarkable thing about
Neanderthal technology is the way it hardly changes significantly
over about a quarter of a million years. You get essentially the same
shapes of tools made by the same techniques over this whole period.
Now as soon as you get modern humans on the scene you get a whole
range of dramatic changes. They suddenly start producing new shapes
of stone tools obviously designed for different functions, and they
start producing tools from bones, antler and ivory, which had never
been used before."
When temperatures in Europe began to plummet with the onset of a new
ice age, Neanderthals were unable to adjust to the new conditions.
But modern humans continued to thrive, even in mountainous areas. By
28,000 years ago the last remaining Neanderthals had disappeared.
Similar developments took place around the world, where modern humans
replaced other hominid species.
At 6:41 PM -0500 12/10/06, Jonathan Campbell wrote:
> With regard to the new hypothesis re: Neanderthal you have an
>interesting commentary, and I'm embarrassed for my own narrow,
>knee-jerk reaction to the initial post. My only question would be:
>if this were the case, how did they survive as a species for any
>length of time at all? My quip about homo sapiens killing them off
>is just a speculation, but based in the idea that, if Neanderthals
>did not develop the keen language skills that homo sapiens had
>already developed, then they certainly would be no match for them in
>warfare, and would likely have gotten in the way as homo sapiens
>began to use land and animals in a way that Neanderthals would have
>found quite foreign.