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Banks et al - Competitive Exclusion

Banks et al - Competitive Exclusion - Neanderthal...

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Neanderthal Extinction by Competitive Exclusion William E. Banks 1 * , Francesco d’Errico 1,2 , A. Townsend Peterson 3 , Masa Kageyama 4 , Adriana Sima 4 , Maria-Fernanda Sa ´nchez-Gon ˜ i 5 1 Institut de Pre ´histoire et de Ge ´ologie du Quaternaire, UMR 5199-PACEA, Universite ´ Bordeaux 1, CNRS, Talence, France, 2 Institute for Human Evolution, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, 3 Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center, The University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, United States of America, 4 Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement/IPSL, UMR 1572, CEA/CNRS/UVSQ, CE Saclay, L’Orme des Merisiers, Gif-sur-Yvette, France, 5 EPHE, UMR5805-EPOC, Universite ´ Bordeaux 1, CNRS, Talence, France Abstract Background: Despite a long history of investigation, considerable debate revolves around whether Neanderthals became extinct because of climate change or competition with anatomically modern humans (AMH). Methodology/Principal Findings: We apply a new methodology integrating archaeological and chronological data with high-resolution paleoclimatic simulations to define eco-cultural niches associated with Neanderthal and AMH adaptive systems during alternating cold and mild phases of Marine Isotope Stage 3. Our results indicate that Neanderthals and AMH exploited similar niches, and may have continued to do so in the absence of contact. Conclusions/Significance: The southerly contraction of Neanderthal range in southwestern Europe during Greenland Interstadial 8 was not due to climate change or a change in adaptation, but rather concurrent AMH geographic expansion appears to have produced competition that led to Neanderthal extinction. Citation: Banks WE, d’Errico F, Peterson AT, Kageyama M, Sima A, et al. (2008) Neanderthal Extinction by Competitive Exclusion. PLoS ONE 3(12): e3972. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003972 Editor: Henry Harpending, University of Utah, United States of America Received May 23, 2008; Accepted November 19, 2008; Published December 24, 2008 Copyright: ß 2008 Banks et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Funding: This research was funded by the National Science Foundation International Research Fellowship Program (grant no. 0653000), and the EuroClimate and OMLL programs of the European Science Foundation. The climate simulations were produced in the framework of the ANR-BLANC IDEGLACE project (ANR-05- BLAN-0310-01) and the CNRS/ECLIPSE project EOLE. Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist. * E-mail: [email protected] Introduction Climate changes unquestionably influenced Paleolithic hunter- gatherer adaptations, and particular attention has been paid to possible climatic influences on Neanderthal extinction and colonization of Europe by anatomically modern humans (AMH) [1–4]. Reasons behind Neanderthal extinction, however, are still debated intensively. Two competing hypotheses contend either
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