Re: Speciation - how do you know?

Paul Crowley (
Sun, 06 Oct 96 08:08:42 GMT

In article <52tumc$> "HARRY R. ERWIN" writes:

> Paul Crowley ( wrote:
> : Compare these putative hunters to a pride of lions. They have
> : everything, including sprinting speed. Lions do not find life that
> : easy. They never adapted to Europe (AFAIK). The prey is too rare
> : or too dangerous or too something else. So how could a much less
> : effective hunter with a much greater energy requirement make out?
> Fossil lions are known from Africa, Europe, Asia, North America (P.
> atrox), and South America (P. atrox). Lions are still extant in Asia
> (India) and Africa, and were known historically in Europe.

Thanks. I had a feeling I was going wrong there. I could see
no good reason why lions should not have been in Europe.

But this information really kills off the "hunting Neanderthal"
hypothesis. As predators, lions must be many, many, times more
effective. They have a far better sense of smell; their ability
to mount an ambush and their camouflage make a Neanderthal some-
thing of a joke by comparison; their night sight is much, much
superior; they usually hunt at night, on moonlit nights often
waiting for a cloud to obsure the moon before launching an attack;
their risk of serious injury in an attack would be much lower;
if one attack fails they can readily mount another -- Neanderthals
could never do that; their attack speed is much higher; their
killing technique is infinitely superior; their ability to travel
distance much greater; their "replacement cost" in the event of
serious injury is much lower.

Even in the complete absence of other predators, a "hunting
Neanderthal" is hard to conceive. Given the presence of highly
effective ones such as lions, it's a total No-No. How did such
a crazy idea ever get off the ground?