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Since 1856, when evidence of Neanderthal humans was discovered on Earth, they have been seen as a reflection of our own humanity.
It is common knowledge that Neanderthals and we, known as Homo sapiens (modern humans), are descended from a common ancestor. Our race has grown tremendously, spread across the globe, and grown to the point where we control this world. But how did Neanderthals become extinct? Where did they go?
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Studies suggest that Neanderthals became extinct around 40,000 years ago. But there is no concrete information yet on how they died.
Scientists say that dinosaurs were wiped out by meteorite collisions and volcanic eruptions. But the cause of Neanderthals’ death, which is considered to be another species of humans, is complex knots that have not yet been discovered.
Who were these Neanderthal men?
Neanderthals are thought to be the first human species to have evolved thousands of years ago. Neanderthals are said to have descended from the ancestral species Hominiidae, which gave rise to the human species. The human species Homo sapiens is descended from the same branch of Hominiidae.
By 400,000 years ago, the Neanderthals were widespread from the Mediterranean to Siberia. They are peaceful people. They were highly intelligent and had larger brains than Homo sapiens. Also, they were good hunters. They were skilled in the use of fire.
Neanderthals cared for the young, the old, and the infirm. They also built shelters for protection. Lived in harsh winters and hot summers. They especially had the habit of burying the dead. Some studies suggest that Neanderthals and Homo sapiens lived together and interbred 14,000 years ago.
What happened? Life of Neanderthals became complicated due to climate change. During the transition from extremely cold to warm conditions, the livelihoods of plants and animals were affected, all of which affected the Neanderthals as well.
Due to continuous climate change, the population of Neanderthals did not increase beyond 10 thousand.
A group of 150 lived in Homo sapiens. But the group of Neanderthals consisted of only 5 to 15 people. It is also said that since they were living in small groups, genetically they could not continue to grow in size.
Third, Neanderthals had competition with other hunter-gatherers. In particular, it is believed that the species may have died out in a fight between Homo sapiens and Neanderthals, which originated in Africa about 60,000 years ago.
What DNA Says: Scientists say that Neanderthals suffered from blood clotting problems, stress and obesity after examining their DNA. And when looking at the wood cells of Neanderthals, scientists also say that they are susceptible to the severity of Corona.
Neanderthal bones and teeth have been found in caves in Europe for the last 150 years. Neanderthal DNA is 99.7% identical to that of modern humans. The surprising news is that today, scientists report that some people in Europe and Asia still have 1-4% Neanderthal DNA.
Scientists are engaged in continuous research about the Neanderthals who traveled with us on our earth. Finding the true cause of the Neanderthals’ extinction is seen as an important moment. The reason is that we can learn from the results of the Neanderthals about the effect of climate change and how our human race should face it.
Contributed by: The Conversation | In Tamil: Indu Gunasekar