Neanderthals might have held out in isolated refuges for thousands of years longer than previously thought, scientists reported today. Their survival at what seems to have been their last refuge in Gibraltar for far longer after the arrival of modern humans than once believed suggests our ancestors may not have driven the Neanderthals to extinction. Instead, researchers speculate the Neanderthals fell victim to a cooling of the climate that deteriorated their environment too rapidly for them to adapt. ‘While the rest of where they lived was getting colder, down here at the southernmost tip of Europe there were still little pockets of Mediterranean climate, so the world of the Neanderthals there didn’t change that much,’ researcher Clive Finlayson, an evolutionary biologist at the Gibraltar Museum, told LiveScience. This now prolonged span of time in which modern humans and Neanderthals could have interacted reopens possibilities they might have interbred, experts added. More like wrestlers The researchers investigated Gorham’s Cave, where Neanderthal stone tools such as spear tips were found more than 50 years ago. Neanderthal tools differ from those of modern humans by the way the rock was chipped off and trimmed and by their very […]

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