The Riddle of Coexistence

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Science  02 Mar 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5509, pp. 1725-1729
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5509.1725

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A new look at archaeological sites throughout the Mediterranean region shows that Neandertals and modern humans coexisted in Europe for at least several thousand years and took turns occupying the same caves in the Middle East for much longer. Although modern humans had a clear technological and cultural advantage in Europe, they did not rout the Neandertals. There are no signs of war or rapid replacement. So far the evidence suggests that there was plenty of room for both groups for thousands of years, with competition for resources intensifying only as the climate worsened.