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Study: Humans took down neanderthals

By Aditi Chengappa     Aug 8, 2008 in World
Neanderthals became extinct about 30,000 years ago, a study suggests that it may well be us humans who wiped them out.
The researchers in Germany base this theory on the analysis of the complete sequence of DNA present in tiny biological powerhouses-mitochondria of a 38,000 year old fossilised leg bone of a Neanderthal who lived near caves in what is now Croatia.
It was revealed that they formed a tiny population that had been hanging on the brink of extinction 30,000 years ago.
The experts decoded the mitochondrial DNA from the Neanderthal bone so that they could compare it with the mitochondrial DNA of modern humans.
"It is still an open question for the future whether this small group of Neanderthals was a general feature, or was this caused by some bottleneck in their population size that happened late in the game,' lead researcher Richard Green said.
"There's no proof that they saw each other, only that they inhabited the same place at about the same time but I think it's likely that they came across one another", co-researcher Adrian Briggs at Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology said.
"We have got tantalising evidence that the Neanderthals formed a small population and we can speculate as to what happened to them. Small population sizes are always more prone to extinction and they have a greater chance of something going wrong," Briggs said.
Whether we truly did have a hand in moving yet another species into extinction is still under speculation but it is safe to say that human beings seem to have a difficult time co-existing seeing as the way birds and animals all around the world are being driven to extinction and its hardly because of natural disasters.
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