Of the six or more early human species, all belonging to the genus Homo, only our Homo sapiens could survive. Now, the study reported in the journal One earth Today (October 15, 2020), combining climate modeling with the fossil record suggests that climate change (inability to adapt to warming or cooling temperatures) played an important role in finding clues that led to all the early extinctions of ancient ancestors. The role that seals their fate.
“Our findings show that despite technological innovations such as the use of fire and refined stone tools, the formation of complex social networks, the case of Neanderthals, glued windows, tight-fitting clothes, and a significant amount of cultural homo sapiens genetic exchange, past homo. The species could not survive violent climate change,” says Pasquale Raia of the University of Naples Federico II in Naples, Italy. “They worked hard. They made the warmest place they could reach as the climate got colder, but by the end of the day it wasn’t enough.”
To illuminate the past extinction of homogenous species including H. habilis, H. ergaster, H. erectus, H. heidelbergensis, H. neanderthalensis, and H. sapiens, researchers relied on a high-resolution past climate emulator that provides temperatures. , Rainfall and other data for the last 5 million years. They also looked at an extensive fossil database spanning more than 2,750 archaeological records to model the evolution of the climatic niche of homogenous species over time. The goal was to understand early human climate preferences and how they respond to climate change.
Their research provides strong evidence that the three homogenous species H. erectus, H. heidelbergensis and H. neanderthalensis lost a significant portion of their climate niche just before extinction. They report that this decline was consistent with rapid and adverse changes in the global climate. For Neanderthals, it is possible that the situation has been exacerbated by competition with H. sapiens.
“We are amazed that the effects of climate change appear regularly,” says Raia. “Only for the extinct species and for them it was clear that the climatic conditions were too extreme on the verge of extinction and only at that particular moment.”
Raia points out that there are uncertainties in post-meat reconstruction, identification of remaining fossils at the species level, and aging of fossil sites. But he says the key insight is “true in every home.” This discovery could serve as a kind of warning to humans today as we face unprecedented climate change, Raia says.
“It is anxious to discover that our ancestors, who are not very impressive in terms of mental strength compared to other species on the planet, cannot resist climate change,” he said. “And when our species cut branches, we found it sedentary because of climate change. I personally take this as a thunderous warning message. Climate change has made homos vulnerable and unhappy in the past, and this can happen again.”
See also: “The extinction of the past homo Pasquale Raia, Alessandro Mondanaro, Marina Melchionna, Mirko Di Febbraro, Josè AF Diniz-Filho, Thiago F. Rangel, Philip B. Holden, Francesco Carotenuto, Neil R. Edwards, Matheus S. Lima-Ribeiro, Antonio Profico, Luigi Maiorano, Silvia Castiglione, Carmela Serio and Lorenzo Rook, October 15, 2020, One earth.
DOI: 10.1016 / j.oneear.2020.09.007
This work was supported by MCTIC / CNPq / FAPEG.