Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Scientists find Neanderthals’ last refuge - LiveScience -
Neanderthals might have held out in isolated refuges for thousands of years longer than previously thought, scientists reported Wednesday.

Researchers say the species survived at what seems to have been their last refuge in Gibraltar for far longer after the arrival of modern humans than once believed — suggesting that the ancestors of modern human may not have driven the Neanderthals to extinction after all. Instead, they speculate that the Neanderthals fell victim to a cooling of the climate that deteriorated their environment too rapidly for them to adapt.

"While the rest of where they lived was getting colder, down here at the southernmost tip of Europe there were still little pockets of Mediterranean climate, so the world of the Neanderthals there didn't change that much," researcher Clive Finlayson, an evolutionary biologist at the Gibraltar Museum, told LiveScience.

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