Term Paper Title: WHY DID THE NEANDERTHALS DISAPPEAR?
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WHY DID THE NEANDERTHALS DISAPPEAR?
Neanderthal man become extinct in the Upper Paleolithic period and was replaced by many
different kinds of homo sapiens sapiens such as Cro-Magnons and Grimaldis. Homo sapiens are
involved in most theories that explain why the Neanderthals disappeared because their extinction
happened at the same time the early humans arrive in Europe, coming from Africa. The
Neanderthals and early humans coexisted for more than 10,000 years.
The first theory states that Neanderthals starved to their extinction. The Neanderthals and
modern humans would have had to compete for food. The modern humans won because they
had advanced technology, like hunting tools. This would have definitely led to starvation and a
decrease in the overall Neanderthal population, which could have been the cause of extinction.
Also, unlike the Cro-Magnons, who lived to well into their fifties, Neanderthals had a much
shorter life span, who barely lived forty years. The new humans who just came over from Africa
may have been considered enemies by the Neanderthals.
Since the Neanderthals are presumed to have been less intelligent than the modern humans,
and since modern humans are still alive today, it is possible that the Neanderthals were
wiped out by the fighting between the two races. However, this theory does have its reasons for
being doubted. First of all, after many years of living together peacefully, why would they begin
fighting? Also, it shows much human arrogance to assume that early man could take an entire
species that was stronger and almost as smart as them and fight it to extinction.
The third theory is called the “Out-of-Africa” theory. In Ethiopia in 1997, fossils of Homo
Sapiens were found, and they have been carbon-dated between 154,000 and 160,000 years
old. This is around 50,000 years older than the previous fossils of homo sapiens. That provides
solid proof for this theory and confirms that the our ancestors were never Neanderthals,
because this is proof that the homo sapiens lived at the same time with the Neanderthals and the
two did not just combine to form another race. The fossils provide important evidence of how
the homo sapiens emerged. The skulls that were found have deep faces and long, rugged cases
that enclosed large brains. Those and other similarities and differences mean that not only do
these fossils belong to homo sapiens, but they are also a subspecies of it. The skulls have been
called homo sapiens idaltu. Anatomically modern humans, Homo Sapiens Sapiens, a
subspecies of homo sapiens, gradually emerged from idaltu. 100,000 years ago is what the
previously oldest fossil of homo sapiens sapiens has been dated. The leaders of the study were
Tim White and Clark Howell. They argue that the discovery is a very valuable piece of
evidence in a 25-year long debate about when the Neanderthals really did die out. Other studies,
based on the evolutionary changes over a long period of time in DNA, have suggested that
modern humans first lived on earth around 150,000 years ago in the eastern part of Africa. They
then migrated to other regions. They first went to the Middle East and then started heading
Northwestwards into Europe and then eastwards into Asia, and they eventually crossed into
North America by the crossing of Beringia into Alaska. Some people do not think that a
population so small of humans who were living on a subsistence diet could migrate that far, and
they did not believe the assumptions made by others about the flow of genes. Unfortunately,
there is a lack of good fossil evidence to support it. Their alt...
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