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Neanderthals may have died off because they couldn't harness fire

 A new study has revealed that Neanderthals may have died off because they lacked in the fire mastery.

Washington: A new study has revealed that Neanderthals may have died off because they lacked in the fire mastery.

Neanderthals failed to harness the power of fire to the extent their human cousins did, Discovery News reported.

Using fire for cooking would have allowed these other groups of ancient human relatives to get more calories from the same amount of food, thereby edging out the Neanderthal population.

Over time, the anatomically modern human population would have risen, while the Neanderthal population plummeted toward extinction.

However, the exact cause has been a matter of hot debate. Some have postulated that Neanderthals found it increasingly difficult to access resources they needed given their small group sizes and relatively local trading networks. Other scientists have even proposed that humans cannibalized their Neanderthal rivals.

Anna Goldfield, a doctoral candidate in archaeology at Boston University and her colleague Ross Booton, a mathematical biologist at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom, wondered whether fire use had something to do with the demise.