London - Neanderthals lost out to Homo sapiens in the battle to survive because they were not clever enough to adapt.

The results of a five-year study, to be revealed this week, will show that modern man walked the planet much earlier than was believed and Neanderthals died out much sooner than was estimated.

The brains of Neanderthals were the same size as those of modern man but more of it was used to focus on the physical needs of their larger bodies.

Modern humans from Africa evolved the part of their brains responsible for thinking, which they used to connect with other groups in times of need. When the Ice Age came, they could speak a complex language and set up operations far from their homes, unlike Neanderthals.

Europe was once dominated by Neanderthals, but they disappeared after modern man was thought to have emerged 60 000 years ago. Now, according to the research programme Reset –Response of Humans to abrupt environmental transitions – Homo sapiens could have arrived 45 000 years ago.

Scientists using radiocarbon dating discovered there appeared to be no Neanderthal sites 39 000 years ago –10 000 years earlier than previous thought.

Homo sapiens could have arrived 45 000 years ago. Five thousand years later, Neanderthals had all but vanished.

The results of the research will be unveiled at a three-day conference titled When Europe was covered by Ice and Ash, at the British Museum in London. - Daily Mail