Did big eyes lead to the downfall of the Neanderthals?

Published on March 14th, 2013 | by Admin

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Homo_neanderthalensis_anagoria

A new study puts forth the claim that Neanderthals became extinct because they had larger eyes than our species.

The research team explored the idea that the ancestor of Neanderthals left Africa and had to adapt to the longer, darker nights and murkier days of Europe. The result was that Neanderthals evolved larger eyes and a much larger visual processing area at the backs of their brains.

The humans that stayed in Africa, on the other hand, continued to enjoy bright and beautiful days and so had no need for such an adaption. Instead, these people, our ancestors, evolved their frontal lobes, associated with higher-level thinking, before they spread across the globe.

Eiluned Pearce of Oxford University decided to check this theory. She compared the skulls of 32 Homo sapiens and 13 Neanderthals.

[Full story]

Story: Pallab Ghosh, BBC News | Photo: BBC News

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