Neanderthals Disappeared Due to Inbreeding and Maybe Some Bad Luck

As a new study resurfaces, we get to know better how the life of the Neanderthals developed, and how they end up dying. Such research could indicate that modern populations did not directly cause the disappearance of the species of archaic humans.

Neanderthals and Interbreeding

A team from the University of Eindhoven, in the Netherlands, began a mission of life and death to find out what did harm the Neanderthals. They used statistical tools to approximate why the species passed out. Also, they simulated how their populations might have fared over 10,000 years, and to do their findings more accurate; they also based their examination on modern human hunter-encountering groups.

Moreover, researchers ‘ran population simulations for Neanderthal societies of various starting sizes (from 50 individuals to 100, 500, 1.000, or 5.000)’ according to Science Alert. So, the team first tested their population simulations with the determinant of inbreeding.

Such a thing can conduct to an improper population, and PLOS ONLINE, for example, states that they possessed at least 40 % lower fitness than the actual population on an average rate.

The Allee Effect

The Allee effect represents the second factor and is a biological phenomenon. It occurs where a small population doesn’t breed itself due to inefficiency to ensure enough resources and limited choice of mates. Also, small communities are intrinsically disadvantaged if it’s about surviving in tough places such as the Neanderthals’ environment.

The third factor presents another situation, that of birth rates, deaths, and sex ratios. A collapsing birth-rate and other variables could have changed the species over many centuries. Such a factor, however, wasn’t considered a major one in the disappearance of the population.

Finally, it does exist the possibility that the Neanderthals may have passed out ‘merely to a stroke of bad, demographic luck.’