Cold Killed Neanderthals 

Not by Fire but by Ice


Discover What Killed the Dinosaurs . . . and Why it Could Soon Kill Us


15 Jun 07


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Cold Weather, Not Humans, Killed Neanderthals

04 May 07 - Neanderthals disappeared from Earth more than 20,000 years ago. One team of scientists now says they have evidence to back climate change as the main culprit. The study, by Francisco Jiménez-Espejo, a paleoclimatologist at the University of Granada in Spain, is detailed in a recent issue of Quaternary Science Reviews.

To figure out the temperature, water supply, and windiness of Iberia from 20,000 to 40,000 years ago, the scientists looked at sediments on the ocean floor off Spain and Portugal. Because wind or water erode rocky minerals differently, the pebbles and fragments wash into the sea in different ratios, creating a steady record of land conditions at the bottom of the ocean.

The scientists also focused on barite, a compound gathered by marine animals. The more barite in sediment, the more lively the oceans were at the time. "When we found big drops in marine productivity, we knew there were big changes in climatic condition in Iberia," Jiménez-Espejo says.

The study reveals three rough climatic periods for Neanderthals, with the last and harshest period starting about 26,000 years ago. "The last event was very, very cold and dry," Jiménez-Espejo says, "and other than 250,000 years ago, such a harsh climate was never reached before."

As you know if you’ve read Not by Fire but by Ice, I fear that we’re headed into another deadly period of cold.

See entire article by Dave Mosher, LiveScience Staff Writer



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