Mailbag: Volcanic winter for Neandertals, continued

I happened upon your weblog a couple of months ago and find it fascinating, thanks for your effort. If the timeline/data of http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121016084936.htm is accurate do you think it could be a contributing factor in the demise of the Neandertals?

Thanks so much for your kind words!

I wrote about the Campanian Ignimbrite a couple of years ago, when a group of Russian researchers suggested the resulting climate change as a factor in Neandertal disappearance:

http://johnhawks.net/weblog/reviews/climate/paleo/neandertal-volcanoes-2010.html

I’m skeptical of any particular event, considering how the Neandertals survived many climate fluctuations long before this time, with more rudimentary technology. I would say that several archaeologists I respect think that the climate change was a factor acting together with increased stress from competition with modern human populations. Personally, I want to know how much mixture was going on within Europe before I am willing to believe a lot of competition was happening on the ground. Anyway, this field is definitely developing fast. I’ll have something new up about coexistence and possible competition in Italy sometime soon.