Global cold, not ‘climate change,’ killed off neanderthals

The mainstream media – and even Fox News (http://www.foxnews.com/science/2018/08/30/climate-change-killed-off-neanderthals-study-says.html) – are trumpeting a newly published study asserting “climate change” played a large role in the demise and disappearance of Neanderthals in Europe. Relying on climate data coincidental with the demise of Neanderthals, the study’s authors argue that consensus science may be wrong in its belief that early modern humans exterminated Neanderthals. However, the data show that if climate played a major role in the demise of Neanderthals, it was persistent and worsening cold rather than the concept of “change” that doomed the Neanderthals.

Global warming alarmists are playing a nefarious semantic trick. A warmer climate has always been more beneficial to human health and welfare than a colder climate (https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2014/05/29/global-cooling-not-global-warming-doomed-the-ancients/#48e26b307869). Warming climate brought about the modern human age 10,000 years ago, the birth of civilizations, and the dramatic expansion of human populations in Europe 1,000 years ago during the Medieval Warm Period. A cold climate has always been disastrous for human health and welfare. Cold temperatures, for example, brought about the famines, plagues, and population declines that occurred throughout Europe 700 years ago when the Medieval Warm Period ended.

Rather than acknowledging that cold temperatures are disastrous and warmer temperatures beneficial, alarmists frequently dismiss the “cold” element and claim that merely the “change” to a colder climate was disastrous. This semantic trick attempts to make the historical evidence of the disastrous impacts of cold temperatures a reason to fight a warmer climate. This semantic trick purposefully buries the fact that when climate “changed” to become warmer at the dawn of the modern human age, the dawn of human civilization, and the dawn of the Medieval Warm Period, the “climate change” brought great leaps in human health and welfare rather than climate-related catastrophe.

The newly published study (http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/08/21/1808647115) points to cooling temperatures approximately 40,000 years ago – at roughly the same time archaeological evidence of Neanderthals slowly disappeared – and claims this “climate change” (without ever blaming ‘cold temperatures’) was likely a primary cause.

Temperature records, however, show a long-term climate cooling occurred during the time period from 60,000 years ago 15,000 years ago (http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/natural-cycle). The time point of 40,000 years was merely in the middle of that cooling. Neanderthals did not die off 60,000 years ago when the cooling suddenly began, nor did modern humans die off 15,000 years ago when an even more dramatic warming began (http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/natural-cycle). Instead, Neanderthals began dying off during the middle of the climate cooling when the pace of climate change was no faster or slower than the time periods immediately before or after. If climate played a role in the demise of the Neanderthals, it was not “change” – because there was no remarkable change that occurred at the time. Instead, it was persistent cooling that brought the accumulating negative impacts of cold temperatures, including shorter growing seasons, less food availability, and cold-related health stressors. By contrast, it was in the immediate aftermath of a much more dramatic warming “climate change” that modern human populations exploded, life spans increased, and civilizations first formed.

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CFACT defends the environment and human welfare through facts, news, and analysis.