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.