Re: Speciation - how do you know?

Stephen Barnard (
Sun, 06 Oct 1996 07:58:55 -0800

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?
> Paul.

You really crack me up, Paul Crowley. If you keep it up I'm going to
hurt myself.

First, you present the "fact" that there were no lions in Europe as
evidence that Neanderthals didn't hunt. Then, when someone points out
that there *were* lions in Europe, you claim that as *conclusive*
evidence that Neanderthals didn't hunt.

BTW, you seem to think that the existence of one predator precludes the
existence of any others. That's rather difficult to believe given that
in Africa lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, and wild dogs coexist and
prey on roughly the same species.

Steve Barnard