Did dogs help us outsmart the Neanderthals ?
By T.K. Randall
March 4, 2015 · 7 comments
Dogs may have given early humans an edge over their competitors. Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Angell Williams
The early domestication of wolves by modern humans may have tipped the balance in our favor.
The disappearance of the Neanderthals is often attributed to competition with modern humans who, upon arriving in Europe, seemed to have pushed their rivals to the point of extinction within the space of just a few thousand years.
While many palaeontologists believe that it was our ancestors' superior skills and weapons that eventually won out against our Neanderthal cousins, Prof Pat Shipman of Pennsylvania State University maintains that they may have had some help.
"At that time, modern humans, Neanderthals and wolves were all top predators and competed to kill mammoths and other huge herbivores," she said.
"But then we formed an alliance with the wolf and that would have been the end for the Neanderthal."
Modern humans were thought to have started domesticating wolves shortly after reaching Europe, a relationship that would have given them a huge advantage in hunting down larger animals for food.
Against such an effective partnership the Neanderthals would have simply been unable to keep up.
Source: The Guardian
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