Re: Speciation - how do you know?

Stephen Barnard (
Sun, 06 Oct 1996 17:40:10 -0800

Paul Crowley wrote:
> 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.

The point is, Paul, that you present both the absence of lions in
Eurpope and the presence of lions in Europe as *prima facie* evidence
that Neaderthals didn't hunt. You must see the gross inconsistency in
this argument, because I believe that you are a logical, reasoning human
being. You *have* to admit, to retain any credibility at all, that
either one or both of your arguments are incorrect.

> > 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?

Pointing out a gross inconsistency in your logic (an inconsistency at
the level of a howler) is constructive.

So why is it impossible that Neanderthals established a hunting niche
for themselves? What assets could they bring to the table? Far
superior intelligence. Coordinated, cooperative technique. Long-range
planning. Possibly language. Possibly most important, cultural
adaptation over centuries, passing down effective hunting techniques
from generation to generation. An extremely robust physique by our

Steve Barnard

Steve Barnard