Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Neandertals Froze to Death?

In a study reported in Yahoonews, Ian Gilligan suggests that Neandertals did not survive because they did not adjust to the coming ice age and, consequently, froze to death. States the article:

Neanderthals probably froze to death in the last Ice Age because rapid climate change caught them by surprise without the tools needed to make warm clothes, says an Australian researcher.

Ian Gilligan, a post-graduate researcher from the Australian National University believes that by the time Neanderthals developed sewing tools it was too little too late.

Neanderthals began to die out just before the last glacial maximum, 35 to 30,000 years ago and were replaced by modern humans, say archaeologists.

Well, aside from the fact that many archaeologists suggest exactly the opposite, that hybridization is the only way to explain the fact that early modern humans and Neandertals used most of the same kinds of tools, especially in Southwest Asia, this seems somewhat "Day After Tomorrow"-ish in outlook and posits a remarkably minimal amount of intellectual prowess for Neandertals, who were pretty dang smart. People know when it is getting colder and they adjust. Another thing that seems to go unmentioned is needle and bone points don't show up until the Solutrean and Gravettian minimally and then the Magdelenian more so. This is a long time after the coming of the second part of the Würm glaciation and relates more to population pressure and changing resources.

Time to hunt down the article.

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