London: Neanderthals became extinct as they were unable to adapt their hunting skills to catch small animals like rabbits, a new study has claimed.
For the study, John Fa of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in Trinity, Jersey, and his colleagues counted skeletons of animals that were found in three excavation sites in Spain and southern France.
The team found that up until 30,000 years ago, the skeletons of larger animals like deer were plentiful in caves.
But around the same time, coinciding with Neanderthals` disappearance, rabbit skeletons became more abundant.
The team postulated that humans succeeded far more at switching to capturing and eating rabbits than Neanderthals, New Scientist reported.
Fa said that it is still not clear as to why Neanderthals had trouble changing their prey.
He said that maybe the Neanderthals may have been less able to cooperate and rather than using spears, early humans probably surrounded a warren and flushed out rabbits with fire, smoke or dogs.