Re: Speciation-how do you know?

Robert Gotschall (
12 Oct 1996 13:00:36 GMT

In <> Phillip Bigelow <> writes:
>The problem with this is that, assuming your claim is
>true, neanderthals were never-the-less STILL quite successful in
>their northern niche. Keep in mind that neanderthals go back nearly
>200,000 years (and probably much earlier than that).
>The last of them died out around 30Ka.
> If neanderthals were unsuccessful in their environment, then they
>were "unsuccessful" for at least 170,000 years! Surviving 170,000
>years (roughly 3,400,000 reproductive generations) in a northern
>tundra-like climate (with a few warmer glacial interstades
>thrown-in) makes neanderthals pretty successful as a group.
> Competition with H.s.s. probably led to neanderthal's demise, but
>it only takes a SLIGHTLY different lifestyle (even something as
>minor as cultural differences) for one group to wipe out
>another group.
> In other words, neanderthals may have been very good hunters,
>and foliage foragers, and defenders, but H.s.s. was probably
>slightly better at it.
> It only takes a flea to tip a scale; you don't need an elephant
>to sit on it.
> <pb>

I would add that modern European humans did a pretty good job of wiping
out modern North American humans within the last few centuries. I
don't think anyone would argue but that the North Americans were
superior hunters and in most ways better adapted to the region. The
introduction of Europeans to native N. Americans, or of modern humans
to Neanderthals may have been ecologically comparable to turning
rabbits loose in Australia. The evolutionary concept of -better fit-
doesn't necessarily have anything to do with any human concept of