Read the passage and answer the questions that follow.
In the 19th century a series of discoveries were made across Europe, in Belgium, Gibraltar, Germany and Croatia. Interestingly, it was the site of the third discovery that lends its name to what was found. Named after the Neander valley in Germany, scientists had uncovered the first evidence of Neanderthal man. Since then, their remains have been found across Western and Central Europe, in the Levant and in regions of Northern and Western Asia. No remains have been found in Africa to date. At their peak, it is thought that the population of Neanderthals may have reached 70,000.
Today, Neanderthals are classed as a species or subspecies of human. They are closely related to us and share 99.7% of our DNA. We also lived alongside each other in Europe for a few thousand years. However, they became extinct about 40,000 years ago, and modern humans did not. There are a number of theories that seek to explain why the Neanderthals disappeared, but we cannot be certain of the exact reason. One scenario assumes that Neanderthals and modern humans were separate species and the arrival of humans, together with climate change, meant that they were gradually replaced.
Some argue that this interaction between the two species may have been violent. Another scenario places Neanderthals as a subspecies of human that interbred with us and disappeared through being absorbed into the population. The exact nature of the relationship between Neanderthals and modern humans has not been scientifically proven and is contentious. There are also extinction theories that put the blame on an extreme volcanic event. We do know that about 55,000 years ago the climate started to fluctuate between extreme cold and milder conditions. Rapid fluctuations, occurring within a few decades, may have made it difficult for Neanderthals to adapt and survive.
What led to the extinction of the Neanderthals?
AModern humans and climate change
CScience and technology
DThe passage does not fully support any particular theory.
Modern humans and climate change