The Humans Who Went Extinct: Why Neanderthals Died Out and We Survived

The Humans Who Went Extinct: Why Neanderthals Died Out and We Survived

Clive Finlayson

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: 0199239193

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Hailed by Dan Agin in The Huffington Post as "fascinating...electrifying...an apocalyptic vision that puts a chill down one's back," this provocative book offers a new perspective on the extinction of the Neanderthals. Today, we think of Neanderthals as crude and clumsy, easily driven to extinction by the lithe, smart humans who came out of Africa some 100,000 years ago. But Clive Finlayson reminds us that the Neanderthals were another kind of human, and their culture was not so very different from that of our own ancestors. In this book, he presents a wider view of the events that led to the migration of the moderns into Europe, what might have happened during the contact between the two populations, and what finally drove the Neanderthals to extinction. It is a view that considers climate, ecology, and migrations of populations, as well as culture and interaction. His conclusion is that the destiny of the Neanderthals was sealed by ecological factors--in short, a major climate change--and it was a matter of luck that we survived while they perished.

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Human Occupation of the Red Sea Coast of Eritrea during the Last Interglacial’, Nature 405(2000): 65–9. Further evidence was claimed in 2008 of the exploitation of giant clams in the Red Sea starting at this time but the evidence is ambiguous: C. Richter, et al., ‘Collapse of a New Living Species of Giant Clam in the Red Sea’, Curr. Biol. 18(2008): 1–6. 18. C. Marean et al., ‘Early Human Use of Marine Resources and Pigment in South Africa during the Middle Pleistocene’, Nature 449(2007):

estimates suggest, then the African form should be given a different name from the Eurasian one, probably Rhodesian Man, Homo rhodesiensis. Homo heidelbergensis would then be a name exclusive to the Eurasian population that was the predecessor of the Neanderthals but not the Ancestors. A recent study that combines anatomy and genetics strongly suggests a close link between H. heidelbergensis and the Neanderthals with modern humans being a separate evolutionary lineage; R. González-José et al.,

spread of humans we should look in all directions, starting with areas closest to the core. The Nile Valley seems a good place to begin. As we will also find when we move to Arabia and India, human fossils from this period are practically non-existent in this part of the world. This means that we must rely on stone tools and other evidence of material culture that testifies to the presence of humans. For the period that interests us here, the technology found in the region is part of the Middle

the interior of this region and the higher mountains would have become inhospitable and Neanderthals would only have survived in sheltered valleys.22 The coastal areas would have remained as the main refuges. Those furthest away from the high coastal mountain ranges would have suffered least of all from the unpredictable climatic oscillations.23 The Rock of Gibraltar, situated on a low-lying coastal plain well away from the major coastal mountains, was an ideal refuge. The north of Iberia was a

were a late invention, one that came with the development of agriculture. Then the results of a series of stunning and imaginative studies were published by James Adovasio and Olga Soffer at the University of Illinois; they looked at the detail of the impressions left in the various ceramic statuettes and other artefacts made by the Gravettians. A detailed examination of the Dolni ěstonice and Pavlov artefacts from the Czech Republic revealed that plant fibres were in use to make textiles,

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