Quirks & Quarks

How Dogs Helped Humans Drive Neanderthals to Extinction

A new book suggests that taming dogs turned early humans into super-predators who could outcompete Neanderthals
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There is great debate among scientists as to why Neanderthals went extinct while humans, who shared the same parts of Europe at the time, survived. There are theories that include combinations of factors, such as adaptability to climate change, cognitive ability, and even differences in hunting technique, resulting in one group thriving and the other failing.

But a new theory adds another element to the debate. It suggests humans thrived because they had help. In her new book, The Invaders: How Humans and Their Dogs Drove Neanderthals to Extinction, Dr. Pat Shipman, a retired Adjunct Professor of Anthropology from Pennsylvania State University, explores the idea that the domestication of wolves gave humans an important advantage when it came to hunting, and allowed them to out-compete the Neanderthals.

Related Links

- The Invaders publisher's page
- National Geographic review
- NPR review