Scientists have long debated what caused the Neanderthals to die off. A new study has suggested that a flood of prehistoric humans pouring into Europe inundated our ancient rivals and overwhelmed them with sheer force of numbers.
Neanderthals departed Africa about 400,000 to 800,000 years ago, and subsequently evolved in lands that now comprise France, Spain, Germany and Russia. They are believed to have died out (or absorbed into the modern human population) about 30,000 years ago.
A new study published in the journal Science found that humans outnumbered Neanderthals by about 10 to one in a region of Southwestern France, and its authors believe that a massive influx of humans migrating from Europe overwhelmed Neanderthals in the competition for resources.
"Numerical supremacy alone may have been a critical factor" in humans surviving, the study's authors wrote.