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A Turning Point in Human Evolution : The Replacement of Neanderthals by Homo sapiens(<Special Theme>For the Human History on the Planet-Expansions, Integrations and Conflicts)

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  • 人類史の分かれ目 : 旧人ネアンデルタールと新人サピエンスの交替劇(<特集>人類史の空間論的再構築-移動、出会い、コンフリクト)
  • 人類史の分かれ目--旧人ネアンデルタールと新人サピエンスの交替劇
  • ジンルイシ ノ ワカレメ キュウジン ネアンデルタール ト シンジン サピエンス ノ コウタイゲキ

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Abstract

According to recent paleoanthropological studies, Homo heidelbergensis gave rise to Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) in Europe and modern humans (Homo sapiens) in Africa. Modern humans (Cro-Magnon) who were expanding across western Eurasia from their original African homeland encountered European indigenous Neanderthal populations. For more than thousands of years of possible Neanderthal coexistence with Cro-Magnons in Europe, the Neanderthals persisted until 30,000 years ago, and possibly somewhat later; however, they eventually disappeared. The question arises: what happened to the Neanderthals? Were they overwhelmed and killed off by the Cro-Magnons, or were they absorbed into modern human populations? There is much debate about whether Cro-Magnons accelerated the demise of the Neanderthals, and many hypotheses as to what extent are currently available. In that regard, the Cambridge Stage 3 Project has been one of the most significant research investigations of recent years (T.H. van Andel & W. Davies eds. 2003 Neanderthals and modern humans in the European landscape during the last glaciation). Stage 3 (Oxygen Isotope Stage 3) covers the central period of the last glaciation between ca 60,000 and 20,000 years ago, and was also the time when Cro-Magnon colonized Europe, and when Neanderthals became extinct. The project has succeeded in providing differences in adaptive strategies between Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons during the fluctuating climates of the last glaciation in Europe, based upon detailed and well-documented environmental and chrono-archaeological data.

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