New findings rewrite time frame for Neanderthals' disappearance from Europe

Edited By: Bharat Sharma WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Mar 10, 2021, 10:44 AM(IST)

Representative image Photograph:( Twitter )

Story highlights

New fossils, discovered in a cave in Belgium reveal that the Neanderthals’ last survivors perished in Europe thousands of years before the earlier estimate

New revelations shed light on when Neanderthals really disappeared from Europe. And it turns out, the earlier beings perished way earlier than previously believed.

New fossils, discovered in a cave in Belgium reveal that the Neanderthals’ last survivors perished in Europe thousands of years before the earlier estimate.

The new study, which appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, undertaken by a collaborative team from Belgium, Britain, and Germany sheds light on when our closes relative disappeared from the planet.

Earlier readings of remains from “Spy Cave” put neanderthals’ existence at roughly 24,000 years ago, but the new findings push the date to between 44,200-40,600 years.

Also read: Neanderthal's 41,000-year-old skeleton all set to resolve this long-standing mystery

According to co-lead author of the study, Thibaut Deviese from the University of Oxford and Aix-Marseille University, the team came up with a more dependable method to assess findings, limiting the chance of errors and reducing contaminants.

The scientists used radiocarbon dating methods to ascertain when the creatures roamed our planet, and it can help researchers understand why the species went extinct, while humans were able to persevere.

How does carbon dating work?
All living creatures on the planet absorb carbon from the atmosphere and their food sources. But when living being die, they stop absorbing carbon - which helps scientists decide when they perished.

Also read: All modern humans possess Neanderthal DNA: Study

In terms of bones, scientists usually choose collagen to trace the date. Neanderthal specimens from two other Belgian sites were also analysed to assert a concrete timeline. Scientists believe that the previous remains were infected with bovine DNA, which caused miscalculation.

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