Since the birth of modern civilization, the history of Neanderthals has been shrouded in mystery. When did they die out? Could they hunt fish and birds? Did they save $500 by switching to Geico? We may never know the answer to some of these questions. But, at least one expert in Jersey, suggests that we now know why Neanderthals died off in the first place: bunnies.
John Fa—of Trinity, New Jersey's Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust—posits that the Neanderthal population dwindled and eventually died off because they weren't able to adapt their hunting skills to catch small animals. Like bunnies.
Fa and his colleagues counted up the skeletons of animals found in three excavation sites in Spain and southern France. Up until 30,000 years ago, the remains of large animals such as deer were abundant in caves. But around that time, coinciding with the disappearance of Neanderthals, rabbit remains became more prevalent. The authors postulate that humans were more successful at switching to catching and eating rabbits.
*Instert rabbit season joke here.* [New Scientist]