Rapid extinction by parasites and pathogens
Another possibility raised by Diamond and others, paralleling colonialist history, would be a greater susceptibility on the part of the Neanderthals to pathogens introduced by Cro-Magnon man. Diamond argues that asymmetry in susceptibility to pathogens is a consequence of the difference in lifestyle.. A pandemic will generally have a limited mortality because the pathogen needs a host in order to spread. If two species are similar and live side by side, then the survival of one species becomes less important for the pathogen, and in the end it may have three outcomes: divergence, exchange of genes, or downfall. The evidence supporting this claim that Neanderthals were cannibals comes from the study of skulls. By examining skulls, scientists noticed that they were cut and smashed with tools to reveal the brain. At the site of Ardeche, France, scientists found over 100 specimen of Neanderthals with evidence of cannibalism. In addition to human brain, scientists also believe that the Neanderthals ate the brain of other mammals, perhaps as some sort of ritual. Scientists know today that eating the brain of a deceased mammal can lead to spongiform encephalopathy. This condition is always fatal and is similar to that of mad cow disease. This disease would have spread throughout communities fast because the Neanderthals would not be able to realize why it is occurring. Within 250 years the Neanderthals population size could have shrunk to irreversible levels. This disease, along with the other mentioned hypothesis, could have been a main factor leading to their demise.
saying that, there are monkeys that are cannibals and they haven't died out. monkeys are just as prone to disease as neanderthals, right? neanderthals eating diseased neanderthals. monkeys eating diseased monkeys.
did neanderthals have any agricultural skills? if they did i could see them fighting over land.