Small and isolated: ecology and fragmentation of Neanderthals


Marina Melchionna

Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, dell’Ambiente e delle Risorse, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Italy; 


How to cite: Melchionna (2018). Small and isolated: ecology and fragmentation of Neanderthals. Fossilia, Volume 2018: 53-56.

Bullet-Points Abstract

  • Homo sapiens greater ecological plasticity allowed this species to react better to climate changes
  • AMHs maintained a more continuous occupation of its potential habitat
  • Habitat reduction and fragmentation in Homo neanderthalensis must have had dramatic consequences on its population size.

Keywords: Homo neanderthalensis; Species distribution modelling; fragmentation.


Fig. 1. Suitability analysis results. Response curves depict the variation of the probability of presence versus each variable. Blue (green) curves referring to H. neanderthalensis (H. sapiens). Dotted lines represent the range interval over the 100 SDMs run per species in order to account for dating uncertainty.


Fig. 2. Evolution of optimal habitats in Neanderthals and AMHs. Dots represent the linear distance in kilometers between optimal patches pairs (i.e. above the 95th percentile of the suitability values predicted by the ensemble forecasting). Distance increases from white to purple and is proportional to dots size. Row and column numbers refer to the individual patch ID. Blue (green) columns in bar plots summarize the percentage of optimal patches pairs >4000 km apart for H. neanderthalensis (H. sapiens) in the three time points. Dark grey (light grey) bars indicate range size of H. neanderthalensis (H. sapiens) in millions square kilometres.

Cited References