Neanderthals could have died out because their cells couldn”t cope with climate changeDecember 21st, 2008 - 1:33 pm ICT by ANI
London, Dec 21 (ANI): Neanderthals could have died out because their bodies overheated as the Earth grew warmer, says a new research.
According to the analysis of DNA obtained from Neanderthal remains, which revealed key differences from modern humans, their bodies produced excess heat.
While in the cold climate of an ice age this would have provided the species with an advantage, as the earth warmed they would have been less able to cope. Ultimately this would have caused their extinction around 24,000 years ago, the scientists say.
Newcastle University researchers have put forward the theory after examining a particular form of genetic material which was obtained from the fossilised bones of Neanderthals, reports the Telegraph.
After comparing it with that found in modern humans, the boffins discovered that Neanderthals had key differences in the sections responsible for producing energy in all living cells.
Professor Patrick Chinnery, a neurogeneticist at Newcastle University, believes the differences in this mitochondrial DNA could have caused Neanderthals to be inefficient at producing energy, meaning their cells leaked heat.
He said: “The question is why did Neanderthals disappear? There are lots of explanations to do with changes in climate and the food supply.
“Differences in these mitochondrial DNA sequences might explain why modern humans were able to survive while Neanderthals were not.
“We compared mitochondrial DNA sequences from Neanderthals that have been obtained by other researchers with a huge database of human sequences from around the world to see how different it was from modern humans.
“We found a number of differences within a certain part of the mitochondrial DNA that were quite unlike anything we see in modern humans.
“It is difficult to get a definitive answer, as it is rather like looking through a misty window. We can only get clues to what went on.”
Mitochondria are tiny structures found inside all living cells and are the biological power stations that produce the energy cells need to survive by converting sugar from food into energy.
The study has been presented at a conference held by the American Society on Human Genetics. (ANI)
- Neanderthals may have gone extinct because their cells couldnt cope with climate change - Nov 28, 2008
- Some HIV drugs cause premature ageing - Jun 27, 2011
- Genome study shows there's a Neanderthal in all of us - May 07, 2010
- 30,000-yr-old finger bone found in Siberia is from 'mystery human relative' - Dec 23, 2010
- Entire genome of extinct human decoded from finger bone - Feb 08, 2012
- Modern humans not uniquely evolved species - Sep 06, 2011
- Mice also foIlowed migrating humans: Study - Mar 19, 2012
- DNA advancement may halt transmission of inherited diseases - Apr 15, 2010
- Europe was populated by Kashmiris around 40,000 years ago: Study - Apr 03, 2011
- Blame your mum for your high BP - Apr 01, 2011
- Scientists assemble genome from DNA of single bug - Sep 19, 2011
- Autistic kids 'have more trouble fueling energy demands of their cells' - Dec 01, 2010
- Neanderthals matured faster, died younger: Study - Nov 16, 2010
- Neanderthals may have gone extinct because of their small population size - Jul 17, 2009
- Scientists discover microbes that survive extreme environment - Jun 10, 2012
Tags: boffins, cells, climate change, cold climate, definitive answer, earth, explanations, extinction, food supply, fossilised bones, genetic material, human sequences, misty window, mitochondrial dna sequences, neanderthals, newcastle university, professor patrick, scientists, telegraph, university researchers