The timing of Neanderthal disappearance and the extent to which they overlapped with the earliest incoming anatomically modern humans (AMHs) in Eurasia are key questions in palaeoanthropology. Determining the spatio-temporal relationship between the two populations is crucial if we are to understand the processes, timing and reasons leading to the disappearance of Neanderthals and the likelihood of cultural and genetic exchange. Serious technical challenges, however, have hindered reliable dating of the period, as the radiocarbon method reaches its limit at ~50,000 years ago. Here, we apply improved AMS 14C techniques to construct robust chronologies from 40 key Mousterian sites, associated with Neanderthals, and ranging from Russia to Spain. Bayesian age modelling was used to generate probability distribution functions (PDFs) to determine the latest appearance date. We show that the Mousterian ended by 41,030-39,260 cal BP (at 95.4% probability) across Europe. Our data suggest strongly, however, that the disappearance of Neanderthals occurred at different times in different regions. We also demonstrate that succeeding ‘transitional’ archaeological industries, one of which has been linked with Neanderthals (Châtelperronian), end at a similar time. Comparing the data with results obtained from the earliest dated AMH sites in Europe, associated with the Uluzzian technocomplex, allows us to quantify the temporal overlap between the two human groups. The results reveal a significant overlap of 2600-5400 years (at 95.4% prob.). This has important implications for models seeking to explain the cultural, technological and biological elements involved in the replacement of Neanderthals by AMHs. A mosaic of populations in Europe during the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition suggests that there was ample time for the transmission of cultural and symbolic behaviours, as well as possible genetic exchanges, between the two groups.
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|Titolo:||The timing and spatio-temporal patterning of Neanderthal disappearance|
|Citazione:||Tom, H., Katerina, D., Rachel, W., Christopher Bronk, R., Fiona, B., Laura, B., et al. (2014). The timing and spatio-temporal patterning of Neanderthal disappearance. NATURE, 512, 306-309.|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|
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|Higham et al 2014 Nature Neanderthal extinction and spatio temporal patterning.pdf||Post-print||DRM non definito||Administrator Richiedi una copia|