Neanderthals in Germany – first population peak, then sudden extinction

Related Articles

Related Articles

Neanderthals once populated the entire European continent. Around 45,000 years ago, Homo neanderthalensis was the predominant human species in Europe. Archaeological findings show that there were also several settlements in Germany.

However, the era of the Neanderthal came to an end quite suddenly. Based on an analysis of the known archaeological sites, Professor Jürgen Richter from Collaborative Research Center 806 – Our Way to Europe, in which the universities of Cologne, Bonn and Aachen cooperate, comes to the conclusion that Neanderthals reached their population peak right before their population rapidly declined and they eventually became extinct.

Neanderthals lived in the Middle Paleolithic, the middle period of the Old Stone Age. This period encompasses the time from roughly 200,000 to 40,000 before our times. In his article published in the Quaternary International Journal, Richter comes to the conclusion that more than 50 percent of the known Neanderthal settlement sites in Germany can be dated to the Middle Paleolithic. More precisely, they date back 60,000 to 43,000 years before our times. Thus, the Neanderthal population peak seems to lie in this period.

The number of sites, their analysis and the analysis of the artefacts found at these settlements indicate that the Neanderthal population in Germany was subject to extreme demographic fluctuations. During the Middle Paleolithic, there appear to have been several migrations, population increase and decline, extinction in certain areas and then a return of settlers to these areas.

While for the time period between 110,000 to 70,000 years ago there are only four known settlement sites, in the following period from 70,000 to 43,000 years ago there are ninety-four. In less than 1,000 years after this demographic peak, however, there was a rapid decline and the Neanderthal disappeared from the scene. Precisely why the species died out is still unclear. Perhaps it was due to low genetic diversity, perhaps to the rise of Homo sapiens. This question will continue to occupy scientists.

University of Cologne – Universität zu Köln

- Advertisement -

Download the HeritageDaily mobile application on iOS and Android

More on this topic

LATEST NEWS

Volubilis – The Ancient Berber City

Volubilis is an archaeological site and ancient Berber city that many archaeologists believe was the capital of the Kingdom of Mauretania.

Pella – Birthplace of Alexander The Great

Pella is an archaeological site and the historical capital of the ancient kingdom of Macedon.

New Argentine fossils uncover history of celebrated conifer group

Newly unearthed, surprisingly well-preserved conifer fossils from Patagonia, Argentina, show that an endangered and celebrated group of tropical West Pacific trees has roots in the ancient supercontinent that once comprised Australia, Antarctica and South America, according to an international team of researchers.

High-tech CT reveals ancient evolutionary adaptation of extinct crocodylomorphs

The tree of life is rich in examples of species that changed from living in water to a land-based existence.

Fish fossils become buried treasure

Rare metals crucial to green industries turn out to have a surprising origin. Ancient global climate change and certain kinds of undersea geology drove fish populations to specific locations.

Archaeologists Discover Viking Toilet in Denmark

Archaeologists excavating a settlement on the Stevns Peninsula in Denmark suggests they have discovered a toilet from the Viking Age.

Innovation by ancient farmers adds to biodiversity of the Amazon, study shows

Innovation by ancient farmers to improve soil fertility continues to have an impact on the biodiversity of the Amazon, a major new study shows.

Lost Shiva Temple Buried in Sand Discovered by Local Villagers

Villagers from the Perumallapadu village in the Pradesh’s Nellore district of India have unearthed the 300-year-old Temple of Nageswara Swamy on the banks of the Penna River.

Ma’rib – Capital of the Kingdom of Saba

Ma'rib is an archaeological site and former capital of the ancient kingdom of Saba in modern-day Ma'rib in Yemen

Giant Egg Discovered in Antarctica Belonged to Marine Reptile

A large fossil discovered in Antarctica by Chilean researchers in 2011 has been found to be a giant, soft-shell egg from 66 million years ago.

Popular stories