Re: Speciation - how do you know?

Paul Crowley (
Wed, 16 Oct 96 10:00:46 GMT

Gerrit Hanenburg wrote:
> (Paul Crowley) wrote:
> >We do know that shellfish were part of Neanderthal
> >diet as extensive shell middens are found in Italy where the land
> >has been geologically raised.

> And what evidence do you have that indicates these so called shell
> middens have accumulated through human action?
> Are they associated with Mousterian stone tools?
> Is there any indication of Neanderthals in those geologically raised
> formations,a single tooth maybe?

Gerrit's post did not reach my server, so I asked him to email it
to me. He did adding (I'm sure he won't mind me quotimg):

> Why didn't I remember Grotta dei Moscerini? :-)

This is a Neanderthal midden site dated about 50kya near Rome which
has Mousterian stone tools.

In general, we should be able to assume that both late and early
hominids exploited shellfish. We have extensive evidence throughout
the world of H.s.s. exploitation for the last 100 kya or so.
It requires no technology that was not available to early hominids
or, indeed, is beyond the capacity of chimps, or even otters.
They just have to be able to use stones to break open shells.
If they were doing it 100kya, why not 5 mya?

Is such an activity too boring, too unadventurous, too unimaginative
for us to allow that it might have been the main activity of *all*
our ancestors? Is it that we prefer a picture of them pulling down

A remarkable feature of all hominid dentition - from 4 mya to the
present - is the depth of the enamel layer. It has no explanation.
IMHO it probably resulted from having to cope with shell chippings
in the diet.