Nov 1, 2017

Human migration into Europe may have brought Neanderthals' demise

The skeletons of a chimpanzee (left), modern human (center) and neanderthal (right) on display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Photo: Dima Gavrysh / AP

The slow and steady migration of humans from Africa into Europe was enough to kill off the existing Neanderthal population there, according to a new study in Nature Communications.

Why it matters: "For decades, modern human scientists assumed there must have been something wrong with the Neanderthals — or something right with us — that led to their extinction," the Washington Post reports. But researchers found that although natural selection may have had a role in the survival of modern humans, Neanderthals would have gone extinct regardless. "It's a subtle distinction but it's important," scientist Oren Kolodny told the Post.

The backdrop: For a time, around 50,000 years ago, Neanderthals and humans co-existed in Europe. To figure out why humans survived but Neanderthals went extinct, researchers built a computer model of interactions between populations of the two species. The model showed that, in 12,000 years, the Neanderthal population became extinct, even without added factors of climate change or selective evolutionary advantages in humans.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 1,579,690 — Total deaths: 94,567 — Total recoveries: 346,780Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 452,582 — Total deaths: 16,129 — Total recoveries: 24,790Map.
  3. Public health latest: U.S. has expelled thousands of migrants under coronavirus public health orderDr. Anthony Fauci said social distancing could reduce the U.S. death toll to 60,000.
  4. Business latest: The Fed will lend up to $2.3 trillion for businesses, state and city governments — Another 6.6 million jobless claims were filed last week.
  5. World latest: Boris Johnson is moved out of ICU but remains in hospital with coronavirus.
  6. In Congress: Senate in stalemate over additional funding for small business relief program.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Biden rolls out new policies in effort to court Sanders supporters

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Biden campaign announced two new policies on Thursday on health care and student debt that are squarely aimed at appealing to supporters of Bernie Sanders, who ended his campaign for the Democratic nomination on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The policies don't go as far as Sanders' platform, but they signal that Biden is serious about incorporating elements of his former rival's agenda in an effort to help unify the Democratic Party and defeat President Trump in the general election.

Reports: Saudi Arabia and Russia reach major deal to cut oil production

Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP via Getty Images

OPEC+, led by mega-producers Saudi Arabia and Russia, reached a tentative agreement Thursday to impose large cuts in oil production as the coronavirus pandemic fuels an unprecedented collapse in demand, per Bloomberg and Reuters.

Why it matters: The revival of the OPEC+ collaboration patches up the early March rupture between the countries, which had pushed already depressed prices down much further by threatening to unleash even more new supplies into the saturated market.