A new study from University of Colorado Boulder has claimed that intelligence of Neanderthals could be compared to modern humans. The study opposes the popular belief that Neanderthals were pushed to extinction by smarter modern humans.
Neanderthals inhabited large areas in Europe and Asia nearly 350,000 to 400,000 years back. Modern human ancestors were considered smarter than Neanderthals and that was given as a major reason by many researchers for their extinction.
CU-Boulder researcher Paola Villa said that the evidence for cognitive inferiority is not present. The research team analyzed many archaeological sites associated with Neanderthals and also checked remains of animal bones.
In France, an archaeological site suggests that Neanderthals used sinkhole to trap bison. Study co-author Wil Roebroeks, an archaeologist at Leiden University in the Netherlands added that Neanderthals survived in different environments.
Some genomic studies have suggested that Neanderthals lived in small groups. Recent studies have also suggested that Neanderthals could have eaten wild peas, acorns, pistachios, grass seeds, wild olives, pine nuts and date palms as they were available at different locations.
The study team suggested that there could be some other reason for extinction of Neanderthals. But, surely, they do not think that Neanderthals were intellectually inferiors to ancestors of modern human race. It could have been triggered by other factors including interbreeding, male hybrid sterility and increasing numbers of modern immigrants, said Paola Villa.
The research paper has been published in the journal PLOS ONE.