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Prehistoric Scratchpad

Neanderthals went extinct due to a combination of climate change, out-competition with modern humans, and assimilation into modern human populations.

Neanderthal Extinction Web Pages[]


  • Quaternary Period (2.58-0.00 MYA) - The current Period. The age of humans. This time is the "current ice age", the Quaternary Glaciation.
    • Holocene Epoch (11.7-0 TYA) - The current epoch. The age of modern man. The current interglacial of the Quaternary Glaciation.
    • Pleistocene Epoch (2.58-0.0117 MYA) - The previous epoch. Includes the beginning of the Quaternary Glaciation, several inter-glacials, up until the beginning of the current interglacial.
      • Tarantian Age (126-11.7 TYA) - The Late Pleistocene. Defined as the beginning of the Eemian Interglacial until the end of the last glacial period of the last ice age.
        • Last Glacial Period (110-10 TYA) - The last glacial period in the current ice age. Has several names depending on geography, including Wisconsin Glaciation.
          • Event: Last Glacial Maximum (26.5-19 TYA) - Time during the Last Glacial Period where ice was at its greatest extent.
          • Event: Neanderthal Extinction (40 TYA) - Neanderthals went extinct due to a combination of climate change, out-competition with modern humans, and assimilation into modern human populations.
          • Event: Neanderthal - Cro-Magnon Contact (65-47 TYA) - Cro-Magnon Man enters Neanderthal held areas. They were likely able to make inroads due to advances in hunting technology and the expansion of the plains. Evidence of inter-mating is evident, the second such time.

Neanderthal Extinction In the News[]

European Neanderthals on Verge of Extinction Even Before Modern Humans Arrived (2012)[]

Most Neanderthals in Europe died off 50 TYA, then they recolonized if and lasted another 10 TY, where their genetic diversity was very low, until modern humans arrived.
See also Neanderthals, Neanderthal Extinction, Neanderthal Die Off

Nutritional Distress Due to Climate Change Contributed to Extinction (2016)[]

Evidence of nutritional stress (such as trying to extract nutrients from marrow low bones) shows evidence that climate change was a factor for the Neanderthal's extinction

Neanderthals in Germany: First population peak, then sudden extinction (2016)[]

Cannibalism among late Neanderthals in northern Europe (2016)[]

Neanderthals May Have Been Infected by Diseases Carried Out of Africa by Humans (2016)[]

Genetic study of diseases shows they could jump between species of homonin.

Neanderthals Disappeared From Iberian Penninsula Before Rest of Europe (2015)[]

Neanderthals were found to have disappeared from Iberian Penninsula before rest of Europe, instead of being its last stronghold.
See also Neanderthals, El Salt, Neanderthal Extinction

What rabbits can tell us about Neanderthal Extinction[]

Neanderthals did not exploit rabbits as food, while humans did. Were they unable to catch them and able to adapt to the loss of larger animals?
See also Neanderthals, Modern Humans, Neanderthal Extinction

Human Hunting Weapons May Not have Caused the Demise of the Neanderthals (2015)[]

Research shows that innovation of spear tip was developed by humans in Europe and later found its way to the near east. It thus likely did not precipitate humans entering Europe and allow them to overtake the Neanderthals.
See also Neanderthals, Modern Humans, Neanderthal - Cro-Magnon Contact, Neanderthal Extinction