Paleontologists have known for a while now that anatomically modern humans and our more attractive cousins, the Neanderthals
, lived side by side for 100,000 years. Then between 45,000 and 30,000 years ago the Neanderthal population began to diminish and finally disappeared altogether. Our Modern human ancestors drove them to extinction
according to one of the more popular theories addressing this. Was this due to indirect competition or outright warfare?
adds weight to the genocide explanation. Fossils of anatomically modern humans have been found with necklaces of Neanderthal teeth and a carefully carved Neanderthal jaw bone. Was this collecting scalps or, even more eerily, an early Jeffry Dahmer's body part collection? Whatever the details, it is significant as the first direct evidence of contact between the two species.