Re: Speciation - how do you know?

Paul Crowley (
Sun, 06 Oct 96 21:45:21 GMT

In article <> "Stephen Barnard" writes:

> 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.

The basic point is that Neanderthals do not have the sort of
anatomy we expect to see in hunters. Nor do they seem to have
any of the attributes we associate with predators.

I did say AFAIK (as far as I knew) lions had not got to Europe.
I regarded this as evidence that it was not good hunting ground
so how could an apparently much inferior predator make out?
On being told lions were, in fact, common in Europe, much the
same question applies -- only now more strongly.

> 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.

They each have a technique, a distinct role or niche - and mostly
at night. Cheetahs are the only purely diurnal one in your list
and they ultilise camouflage, great speed, overwhelming power and
killing ability. Those who believe that Neanderthals could hunt
should be able to present some reasonable account of the niche they
occupied. It has to be a diurnal one. So the prey could see them
coming; or did they crawl along the ground? Modern hominids have
a remarkably poor sense of smell; were Neanderthals an exception?
Predators are built for endurance, speed or both (check your list);
how did Neanderthals escape this rule?

How about an attempt to be constructive?