Inbreeding may have helped cause Neanderthals to go extinct, study says

Inbreeding may have helped cause Neanderthals to go extinct, study says

by Ashley Strickland, CNN

Neanderthals went extinct around 40,000 years ago — about the same time that modern humans migrated out of Africa. This has led researchers to believe that modern humans won the competition for resources, leading to the demise of Neanderthals.

Other theories around the environmental pressure of climate change or even epidemics maintain those reasons could have helped Neanderthals to go extinct.

But a new study proposes that modern humans had nothing to do with it. Instead, the researchers suggest that inbreeding, small populations and fluctuations in birth, death and sex ratio would have been enough to lead the Neanderthals to their permanent end. The study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS.

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