Neanderthals are now-extinct. Which is probably a good thing! We doubt they'd be able to drive cars very well with their big feet!
But the question of how they became extinct is still a pivotal question for scientists!
And one researcher thinks he may have found one part of what caused that extinction - rabbits!
"We suggest that hunters that could shift focus to rabbits and other smaller residual fauna, once larger-bodied species decreased in numbers, would have been able to persist. Our point is that Neanderthals, for some reason, may have not been able to turn to smaller prey once the larger species disappeared. This pattern of hunters progressively using smaller prey once larger ones have been depleted is typical of hunter-gatherers throughout the world."
So what's all that science mumbo jumbo mean?
Basically it means that Neanderthals never looked to rabbits for food even though they were starving!
The scientist goes on to say:
"Although some more fine-tuning needs to be done to be able to detect rabbit, we would like to demonstrate that in Neanderthals the main prey items are large animals, but not so in [modern humans]. These results would indeed confirm what we are saying –- an abundant source of meat was neglected by Neanderthals."
If they had just opened their eyes - they could've seen the food was hopping right in front of them!
But we guess it is good that they didn't.
Good for us humans that evolved, and especially good for the rabbits!
[Image via Wikimedia Commons.]