Illness carried by humans may have killed the Neanderthals 30,000 years ago

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Copenhagen (Denmark), July 8 (ANI): A new theory has suggested that an infectious disease carried by Homo sapiens migrating out of Africa was responsible for the demise of the Neanderthal 30,000 years ago.

According to a report in The Copenhagen Post, Professor emeritus Bent Sorensen of the University of Roskilde said that disease carried by Homo sapiens migrating out of Africa was responsible for the gradual extinction of our prehistoric cousins in the same way that European illnesses ravaged Native American populations in the sixteenth century.

"Modern humans brought illnesses they could survive themselves, but for Neanderthals they were deadly," Sorensen said.

Sorensen's article submitted to the Journal of Archaeological Science challenges the leading theories about why Neanderthals disappeared from Europe 30,000 years ago.

Those theories suggest that the stockier Neanderthals were unable to adapt to a changing climate or that they were killed off as humans encroached on their territory.

But according to Sorensen, skeletal remains show no conclusive evidence that Neanderthals had been killed as a result of violence caused by humans.

He hopes efforts currently underway to map the DNA from the remains of a 38,000 year-old Neanderthal found in Croatia can uncover evidence to support his theory.

"Similar methods have been used to identify tuberculosis in 5,000 year-old remains discovered in Egypt," he said. (ANI)

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