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The timing of Neanderthal disappearance

Publication Date: 21 August, 2014

 

The timing and spatiotemporal patterning of Neanderthal disappearance

Nature 512, 306–309 (21 August 2014) doi:10.1038/nature13621

Co author Professor Ron Pinhasi

The timing of Neanderthal disappearance and the extent to which they overlapped with the earliest incoming anatomically modern humans (AMHs) in Eurasia are key questions in palaeoanthropology1, 2. Determining the spatiotemporal relationship between the two populations is crucial if we are to understand the processes, timing and reasons leading to the disappearance of Neanderthals and the likelihood of cultural and genetic exchange. Serious technical challenges, however, have hindered reliable dating of the period, as the radiocarbon method reaches its limit at ~50,000 years ago3. Here we apply improved accelerator mass spectrometry 14C techniques to construct robust chronologies from 40 key Mousterian and Neanderthal archaeological sites, ranging from Russia to Spain.

Read the full paper here.