Scientists have long debated what caused the Neanderthals to die off. A new study has suggested that a flood of prehistoric humans pouring into Europe inundated our ancient rivals and overwhelmed them with sheer force of numbers.
Neanderthals departed Africa about 400,000 to 800,000 years ago, and subsequently evolved in lands that now comprise France, Spain, Germany and Russia. They are believed to have died out (or absorbed into the modern human population) about 30,000 years ago.
(I interject that this is vastly contrary to the “Fanatical Evangelicals’ Religious Beliefs” that the earth is only 10,000 years old.)
A new study published in the journal Science found that humans outnumbered Neanderthals by about 10 to one in a region of Southwest France, and its authors believe that a massive influx of humans migrating from Europe overwhelmed Neanderthals in the competition for resources.
“Numerical supremacy alone may have been a critical factor” in humans surviving, the study’s authors wrote.
After studying archaeological evidence from both Neanderthal and Homo sapiens sites in southwest France, which contains the largest concentration of Neanderthal and early modern human sites in Europe, researchers concluded that humans far outnumbered their Neanderthal counterparts. There was also evidence that humans had superior hunting techniques and better social ties with other communities of humans.
The study was conducted by two researchers from the Department of Archaeology at Cambridge, Professor Sir Paul Mellars, Professor Emeritus of Prehistory and Human Evolution, and Jennifer French, a second-year PhD student.
“It was clearly this range of new technological and behavioral innovations which allowed the modern human populations to invade and survive in much larger population numbers than those of the preceding Neanderthals across the whole of the European continent,” Mellars said.
(I will comment that it was intelligence that excelled in technology and innovations that made Homo sapiens dominant over Neanderthals. One could put it that Homo sapiens made Neanderthals their bitches by being smarter!!!)
“Faced with this kind of competition, the Neanderthals seem to have retreated initially into more marginal and less attractive regions of the continent and eventually, within a space of at most a few thousand years, for their populations to have declined to extinction levels perhaps accelerated further by sudden climatic deterioration across the continent around 40,000 years ago.”
But Dr. Joao Zilhao, a research professor at the Universityof Barcelonahas said, “The study was too simplistic. The overwhelming genetic and paleontological evidence shows what happened was assimilation, not replacement.” His statement seems to be supported by a recent study finding that most humans are genetic descendants of Neanderthals, which suggests that humans and Neanderthals mated with one another.
Neanderthals were thought to have created symbolic objects such as jewelry and to have formulated language, making them the closest known thing to humans.
Like it is noted, considerable debate remains as to whether they were subsets of the same species or if they were separate and distinct. I take the bottom like lesson here is that intelligence was the dominant Darwin variable and we should all take to heart that the less educated, and willful ignorant segment of today’s population will in some point and time die off in the DNA gene pool just as the Neanderthals have.
I too see the superstitions of religion waning away with the decline of our current day “Neanderthalish” segment of the population or once again morphing into something else as we scientifically disprove creationism and current nihilistic biblical beliefs that can today trace their origins from previous extinct religions founded by futile explanations through ignorance of causes and affects. Examples such as “What is thunder, lighting, earth quakes, floods, etc,” all of these explanations had religious answers that are now taken as silly ignorance once science facts had revealed those mysteries.
As Joseph Campbell noted in the book, “Power of Myth,” that most modern day religions have their origins in ancient myths. Many people of religious faith today take for granted that their belief in a crucified and risen savior is faith in a historical person, usually of divine origin, usually of virgin birth or Immaculate Conception. However evidence can be presented that can point to the contrary. Over thousands of years stories of crucified and risen saviors dying for the sins of humanity have origins in myth.
Such stories had value to the ancient people that created them, but those people knew the stories to be just stories or moral fables to learn from, perhaps embellishments of people that actually lived, but in virtually all cases such stories of god / saviors are empirically fictional. Few people today believe Prometheus, Mithra, or Inanna were real people even though myths and legends tell of their death, descent to the underworld, and resurrection for the sins of humanity.
Just as these religious belief drifted into obscurity, so will the religious melt away as the human race gains and evolves into a more intellectual species eventually pushing the lesser evolved into extinction.