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Survival of the Fittest? Climate Change Led to Extinction of 'Other' Human Species

Image for representation.

Image for representation.

According to the researcher, the ancient beings did try to adapt and survive by moving to the warmest places they could find as the climate got cold but their efforts fell short.

The genus Homo has different species of humans, including us, the Homo sapiens. But in today’s world, all the other species have gone extinct and a recent research has an answer.

According to the latest study, climate change where the temperatures drastically increased or cooled down could have led to their extinction. The ancient human cousins might have failed to adapt to the fast changing climate.

The team created the climate changes in those times and studied the fossils of the extinct species. They come to the conclusion that despite technological advances and revolutionary inventions, the early humans just could not cope with the climate. The results have been published in the journal One Earth on October 15.

Pasquale Raia of Università di Napoli Federico II in Napoli, Italy, spoke about the research. The expert said that even with the “use of fire and refined stone tools, the formation of complex social networks”, as well as the “production of glued spear points, fitted clothes, and a good amount of cultural and genetic exchange, many Homo species could not survive intense climate change”.

According to the researcher, the ancient beings did try to adapt and survive by moving to the warmest places they could find as the climate got cold but their efforts fell short.

They studied the temperature, rainfall, and other data over the last five million years to see how did the different Homo species like H. habilis, H. ergaster, H. erectus, H. heidelbergensis, H. neanderthalensis, and H. sapiens deal with the changes. This was matched with the archaeological fossil database.

It revealed that three Homo species, the H. erectus, H. heidelbergensis and H. neanderthalensis had lost a significant portion of their climatic niche just before going extinct. This time has proof of several unfavourable changes in the global climate. Also, the Neanderthals had to compete with H. sapiens for resources, making things even more difficult.

Raia notes that these results are alarming for modern human beings. If climate change led to the extinction of Homo species once in the past, it could happen again.


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