Monday, February 19, 2007

Ice age ecology and neanderthals vs. moderns

Speaking of the ice age, I happened to run across this new review paper that has some great illustrations, but I'm not sure what to make of what they're tryng to say (probably due to the lack of my background knowledge in this area). One thing that struck me was the following passage:

"Open woodland (e.g. red deer Cervus elaphus) and rocky habitat (e.g. ibex Capra ibex) mammalian herbivores offered opportunities for human ambush hunters [5]. Humans with projectile technology and long-range mobility, which enabled the following of the large herds, were best suited to exploiting plains mammals (e.g. horse, Equus ferus, reindeer Rangifer tarandus and steppe bison Bison priscus) [5]. The expansion of plains mammals across the Palaearctic as treeless vegetation spread 37 and 39 was a crucial factor in the fate of human populations. It favoured the AMHs and constrained the Neanderthals [5]."

Rapid ecological turnover and its impact on Neanderthal and other human populations

Clive Finlayson, Jose Carrion

Trends in Ecology and Evolution Article inPress

Abstract: The latter part of the last glaciation, 50 000–12 000 years ago (kya), was characterized by a rapidly changing climate, cold conditions and corresponding vegetation and faunal turnover. It also coincided with the extinction of the Neanderthals and the expansion of modern human populations. Established views of modern human superiority over Neanderthals as the cause of their extinction are under attack as recent work shows that Neanderthals were capable of behaviour that is regarded as modern. As we discuss here, the exact nature of biological and cultural interactions between Neanderthals and other human groups between 50 kya and 30 kya is currently hotly contested. The extinction of the Neanderthals, and other modern human lineages, now appears to have been a drawn-out, climate-related affair.


Anonymous said...

Yann, the link to the study seems to be b0rked.

Yann Klimentidis said...

oops, thanks for letting me know...should be fixed now.

Anonymous said...

Okay, seems to work now. Thanks.

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