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Essay: The Neanderthal Extinction

Bennen, R. J. (2014) Essay: The Neanderthal Extinction. Bachelor's Thesis, Biology.

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Abstract

Extinction and evolution are two sides of the same coin. When one creature disappears from the fossil record, we speak of “extinction” but there are multiple explanations for this phenomenon. During the emergence of the human species, a lot of our evolutionary “relatives” did not survive to this day. The Neanderthal is believed to be not only one of the most closely related hominins, but also one of the hominins that survived until most recently. In this essay I study different causes for the Neanderthal extinction, and consider whether it is likely that Neanderthals were absorbed in the human population of the time (anatomically modern humans, or AMH), or if humans replaced them. Considering the evidence for a large scale intermixture of Neanderthals an AMH is scarce, Neanderthals were most likely replaced by humans. What caused the Neanderthals to die out, and did AMH cause this event? And if AMH did not cause the Neanderthal extinction, how did the AMH, a very similar creature, manage to survive? While no large unified explanation can be given, it seems that a number of natural causes, including climate change and the inability of Neanderthals to adapt to them and the arrival of AMH have pushed the Neanderthal over the edge.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's Thesis)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Bachelor's Thesis
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 07:57
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 07:57
URI: http://fse.studenttheses.ub.rug.nl/id/eprint/11708

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