Re: Speciation - how do you know?

Nick Maclaren (
6 Oct 1996 14:22:59 GMT

In article <>,
Paul Crowley <> wrote:
>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?

You have just proved that none of the Bantu peoples hunted until they
received European technology (in some places, well into this century).
This conflicts with observation - perhaps reality needs adjusting?

Nick Maclaren,
University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory,
New Museums Site, Pembroke Street, Cambridge CB2 3QG, England.
Tel.: +44 1223 334761 Fax: +44 1223 334679