Re: Modern Neanderthals?

David \ (
Mon, 21 Oct 1996 02:33:46 -0500

On 18 Oct 1996, Rohinton Collins wrote:

> A simple study
> of their respective lifestyles, culture and group size (for want of the
> correct term - again, someone help me out - if anyone is interested in this
> subject, please say so) suggests markedly distinct species.

Well, I'm not so sure the study would be _simple_ but, still it does
sound like a place to start.

It is more
> likely that as the ice age passed, (not only for this reason) H.s.s. was
> reproductively more successful. And since the food sources of the
> Neanderthals and H.s.s. were very similar, the Neanderthals were simply
> driven north by H.s.s.. Their territory diminished and they eventually
> became too small a genetic resource for survival. This needn't have
> happened very quickly, and does not require any murderous behaviour on the
> part of H.s.s., look at the grey squirrel in the UK. It managed to displace
> the red squirrel very efficiently in a matter of years, but no-one saw them
> tearing out the throats of the red squirrels. Obviously the scenario I have
> painted is very simplistic, but it may give you an idea of what happened to
> the Neanderthals. I have necessarily left out many factors since no-one
> wants to read a book when browsing Usenet :) . Perhaps someone would like
> to discuss the cultural and cognitive reasons why Homo sapiens and Homo
> neanderthalensis would not have interbred, or even mixed.

I'd say the red squirrl analogy holds well except for the propensity of
H.s.s. to violence. Without launching into a morality arguement, or
"naive ancestor" thread, I don't think that this can be dissmissed. As
someone pointed out earlier, the physical abilites of later hominids are
formidable (weapons, fire, etc) but pale in comparison with thier best
weapon of all, long range planning. Perhaps it is not unreasonable to
suggest that H.s.n.'s did "not go quietly into the night", but required
an active effort on the part of H.s.s. to send them into extinction (or

Again, the ability for long range planning being a formidable weapon,
is it not likely that as populations of H.s.n. found themselves being
pushed into less hospitible enviornments, that they attempted to expand
back into old ranges, etc. Aside from the potential genetic challenges
to successful interbreeding (which have yet to be fully resolved unless
I've missed something REALLY important) this might have served to further
isolate populations of H.s.n. from H.s.s. Then again, it might have
served as a mechanism of integration. Any thoughts?

I'm partucularly interested in any viewpoints from the genetic end of the
whole buisness, but also want to see those cultural and cognitive reasons

David Sierra