Washington, Jan 12 (ANI): A new study from Washington University in St. Louis has found that the life expectancy was probably the same for early modern and late archaic humans.
Erik Trinkaus examined the fossil records of both and found that the proportions of 20 to 40-year-old adults versus adults older than 40, were about the same for early modern humans and Neanderthals.
The results indicate similar patterns of adult mortality and treatment of the elderly in the context of highly mobile hunting-and-gathering human populations.
Earlier studies theorized that Neanderthals had an inherently shorter life expectancy because older individuals are rarely found among the remains of late archaic humans.
However, if early modern humans did have a demographic advantage, Trinkaus argued, it was more likely due to high fertility rates and lower infant mortality.
"If indeed there was a demographic advantage for early modern humans, at least during transitional phases of Late Pleistocene human evolution, it must have been the result of increased fertility and/or reduced immature mortality," he said.
"Neither adult longevity nor proposed modest shifts in developmental rates are likely to have played a role in this demographic transition."
The study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (ANI)