Sid Tafler

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Did Homo Sapiens cause or contribute to the extinction of Neanderthal?

Neanderthal went extinct about 30,000 years ago after living in Europe and Asia for some 200,000 years.
There are many theories about why Neanderthal disappeared: climate change, failure to adapt and innovate, disease, inter-breeding with Sapiens. Do you think we homo sapiens displaced Neanderthal by killing or over-powering them or did they disappear due to other causes? What have you read or researched that leads to your conclusions?

  • Mar 21 2012: Evolution is as evolution does. We sapiens are conceited enough to believe we are the final product ,when in fact we are the Neanderthals of our moment, no matter how long that moment might be ,and if is nature that does us in or ourselves the truth is inevitable ,evolution has all the time in the world
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    Mar 2 2012: Ken,
    I don't believe any Neaderthal remains have been found in the Western Hemisphere.
    Neanderthal evolved and then went extinct in Europe and Asia.
    The only early migrants to the Americas were homo sapiens, but when they arrived and how they got there is another open question.
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      Mar 3 2012: I was just wondering as i watched a series of old documentaries hosted by Charlton heston i only watched because he hosted it,anyway they had an episode on man and how modern science can filter anomalous finds/artifacts/data out of the system because it doesn't fit.

      I agree the question of when man got to the americas is open as i'm sure you know about the link that is posted below which isn't neanderthal.i only asked whether neanderthal made it there just in case there had been a discovery.
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    Mar 2 2012: Have neanderthal remains or tools been found in mexico?
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    Mar 2 2012: Researchers say people of European and Asian origin are one to four per cent Neanderthal, from inter-breeding between Neanderthal and homo sapiens.
    People of African origin apparently have no Neanderthal DNA as Neanderthal evolved outside of Africa.
    So you could argue that Africans are the only "pre-bred" homo sapiens on earth.
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    Mar 1 2012: Several mythologies speek of the genocide of some kind of humanoid, trolls, titans, etc...
    So it doesn't seem impossible to me that a deliberate slaughter took place, at some time.

    Other than that, the natural factor of climate change combined with the sudden competition with homo sapiens for prey, are more than enough to explain the extinction of neanderthal.

    But in any case, let's face it. Neanderthal had it coming, like the dodo I suppose.
    Sure, three or four hundred thousand years of survival in harsh weather is pretty decent, and so far, homo sapiens have not been around for as much time.
    But there is a difference. Every single living organism evolves into some kind of specialist. This is a key to short-term survival of genes. But in the long run, life is doomed to begin with. Everything goes extinct, eventually.
    Unless you specialise in not being a specialist.

    For all we know, only homo sapiens has what it takes to avoid extinction.
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    Mar 1 2012: "Many mammals have a high degree of genetic similarity (Spetner, Not by Chance, page 69). For example, the cytochrome C of a dog is about 90 percent similar to that of a human, and the hemoglobin of a horse is about 88 percent similar to that of a human. In view of this, a 98 percent genetic similarity between apes and humans is not surprising. It is interesting that some sources put the difference between humans and apes much higher, as high as 10 percent. At least for one gene, human and chimpanzee alleles seem to differ by 13 base pairs out of 270, for a difference of about 5 percent. (See Science, 6 Jan. 1995, pp. 35-36.) "--
    Doesn't this mean that extreme similarity genetically does not indicate similarity in species? Homo Sapiens have always been homo-sapiens. There is no reason to accept the idea of "cross-species evolution". Whatever the history of "Neanderthal" if its species is not homo-sapien then it is no more the ancestor of homo-sapiens than dogs, horses, or apes.
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      Mar 2 2012: The concept of "species" is extinct since Darwin.
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        Mar 2 2012: Gerald, may I rephrase your observation to, ". . . extinct according to Darwin."? This allows for the possibility that Charlie, non-god forbid, was wrong. Thanks.
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          Mar 2 2012: No you may not, Edward. I meant "since". I don't care about Charlie, and I don't care about the guy who built the first wheel.
          It's part of our knowledge now. It's science, so you should always try to challenge everything that we take for certain. But if you're going to do it, then you should really do it and get the nobel prize.

          I'm serious, read 'on the origins of species'. It has nothing to do with the rise of Nazism or Stalinism. It explains why the concept of immuable species is in conflict with field observation. It's quite entertaining and beautifully written.
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        Mar 2 2012: It is not necessary for something to be true to be "part of our knowledge" or to be "science". Theories are not proven truth. It is possible for any theory to be falsified.You said "species" was extinct since Darwin, which I interpreted as giving him credit for the theory, but now you say you don't care about Darwin, then you very highly recommend his magnum opus (which I have read and found to be full of errors). I get the feeling your reply was not meant for me because of the references to first wheels, Nazism, and Stalinism. Help Gerald, I am confused. Best wishes.
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          Mar 3 2012: I'm sorry for so much confusion.

          Darwin was officially the first scientist to have strong arguments against the idea of species. It's not about him holding the truth, or his book... it's about the explanations he gives.
          Since they are good explanations, they have been lasting a while, resisting refutation. There are a few things Darwin did not understand. Genes, for one thing, were not known at his time. But the idea we're talking about has only been deepened with time.

          I did say that any theory can be falsified. But there is a method by which they're falsified. And since Darwin, no reasonnable biologist thinks that species are immuable, since no valid argument was found.

          If you want me to, I'd gladly discuss some of the errors you mention in 'on the origin of species'. And I can also quote the argument and the field observations against the concept of species.
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    Mar 1 2012: Recent findings show that all people outside Africa and haven't recently migrated from Africa are genetically Neanderthal for about 6 percent.
    Interbreeding has happened and by this the Neanderthal can't be considered to be a different species anymore.
    Disease and climate change can have been important factors but to what extend is unknown.
    • Mar 11 2012: It's some people Frans. I think you know, but the way you wrote it seems to say that all of them. People can have from very low to 6% of genetic material coming from neanderthal. Pääbo loves making jokes about this "some more than others" issue.

      Still, to get into topic, Darwin himself proposed that most other hominids were exterminated by our ancestors based on what he was observing being done by Europeans (most "civilized" nations) on less "civilized" members of their own species ("savages"). Then, Jared Diamond in "The Third Chimpanzee" makes the same case with more evidence.

      That there was interbreeding does not mean that our ancestors did not kill a good bunch of neanderthals.