Findings at the El Salt site in Spain, show that Neanderthals disappeared from the Iberian Peninsula earlier than it was believed until now.

The stratigraphic sequence at El Salt was studied by a team of researchers enabling them to estimate that Neanderthals disappeared around 45,000 years ago, about 5,000 years earlier than the rest of Europe.

The team studied lithic objects, such as remains of goats, horses and deer, as well as six teeth from a young adult.

Several theories have been formulated over the years, regarding the reason that led to the decline of Neanderthals. A reason supported by hard evidence, however, has not yet been agreed upon by the scientific community. This new study argues that the Neanderthal population in the Iberian Peninsula probably declined gradually due to climate change. As the climate grew colder, the population declined until it was extinct.

According to Bertila Galván of the University of La Laguna, Plataforma SINC, the fact that Neanderthals disappeared at that particular time from the European Peninsula, does not alter the date of extinction of the population from the rest of Europe.