The mystery of how early humans survived the Ice Age while Neanderthals disappeared into evolutionary oblivion may lie in their choice of outerwear.
A new study suggests that our ancestors had invented cosy fur-lined coats, similar to modern Parkas, while Neanderthals were left shivering in draughty capes.
Archaeologists have long argued about why humans are the only surviving hominid even though other species of ‘homo’ had similar-sized brains and were physically stronger.
Neanderthals died out around 40,000 years ago, and some experts claim they were out-competed by homo sapiens who had learned astonishing new levels of cooperation and communication which allowed them to pool resources.
But now scientists in Scotland and Canada have found evidence that Neanderthals were not equipped with the cold-weather clothing needed to survive the glacial Ice Age.
Studies of early human campsites revealed the bones of furry creatures, like rabbits, foxes and mink which researchers believe were used to trim their garments to stay warm. 56 human sites were also found to contain wolverine, the fur of which is still used by Arctic peoples for ruffs on their Parkas. None were found at Neanderthal sites.
“Wolverine fur is the best natural fur to use as a Parka ruff. It provides excellent protection from the wind, sheds hoarfrost particularly well and is extremely durable,” wrote lead author Mark Collard, Professor of Archaeology at the University of Aberdeen who is currently a visiting fellow at the Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada. [...] telegraph.co.uk