A study reveals that larger eyes contributed to Neanderthal extinction.
What led to Neanderthals extinction?
Neanderthals, who are believed to have lived at the same time as early Homo sapiens, went extinct during the ice age around 28 thousand years ago.
A new study says they had larger eyes than Home sapiens, and used more of their brains to process visual information leading to the ability to see better in the dark.
The researchers from Oxford University compared skulls from 13 Neanderthals and 32 Homo Sapiens.
The Neanderthals had larger eye sockets, and although the size of their brain is believed to be similar to that of modern humans, researchers think that more of their brains were taken up with visual processing, instead of social interaction.
Their cognitive shortcomings did not allow them to form large groups, or ask for help outside of their social group.
This may have affected their ability to adapt to the change in weather and conditions during the ice age.
This conclusion is based on the fact that most primates with larger eyes have a larger part of their brain devoted to visual processing.
Robert Barton from Durham University, UK says that the connection between eye size and primate brain function might not be airtight.
For example, tarsiers have large eyes, but their visual system is small.