Re: Speciation - how do you know?

Stephen Barnard (
Sun, 15 Sep 1996 07:42:01 -0800

Nick Maclaren wrote:
> In article <>,
> Stephen Barnard <> wrote:
> >Paul Crowley wrote:
> >>
> >> In article <51bjle$>
> >> "HARRY R. ERWIN" writes:
> >>
> >> > The build of the average H. neanderthalensis male was off-scale relative
> >> > to H. sapiens.
> >>
> >> Take Arnold Swarchzneggar in his prime; add more muscle and bone;
> >> You can have 20 of them with wooden spears. I'll have one angry
> >> auroch cow. In less than an hour you'd have 20 dead or crippled
> >> "super-Swarchzneggars"; my auroch cow might have a few scratches,
> >> but even that's doubtful.
> This claim seems a bit extreme. You are implying that humans armed
> with wooden spears are much less lethal than African hunting dogs. The
> latter have been reported as occasionally killing even Cape buffalo,
> which are a damn sight tougher than the aurochs was. And they routinely
> kill wildebeest, which are nearly the size of aurochs (though more
> lightly built).
> >> > There is also good evidence that they did not use missile
> >> > weapons, but instead had a hunting style that involved closing with the
> >> > prey and fighting it out using a spear.
> >>
> >> How does a slow bipedal animal "close with" a fast quadruped?
> One of two ways: they hunt in groups and surround the prey, or they run
> the animal down over a long distance. Remember that humans are slow
> only in a sprint; it would be extremely surprising if an aurochs could
> outrun a group of humans over 10 miles. The first technique is used
> by hyaenas and the second by African hunting dogs, both of which are
> much slower than their prey in a sprint.
> >The Masi of Africa, who are quite gracile in build, have traditionally
> >killed lions with spears.
> And single-handed, too, but this is a bit of a red herring. The spears
> have long iron blades and lions are much more delicate creatures than
> aurochs. However, it should be noted that metalworking is a recent
> introduction to the African savanna.
> It is certainly POSSIBLE that humans hunted even aurochs by running them
> down until they tired, a couple of selected heroes grabbing the horns
> and holding the animal down, and the rest killing it with wooden spears.
> In rodeos today, it is usually calves that are wrestled to the ground,
> but that is done single-handed and the animal is fresh; I believe that
> some people can bring a fully-grown Texas longhorn down.
> I have no idea whether they DID, of course, but I think that you will have
> to provide some harder evidence for your claim of impossibility.

You didn't make it very clear who you were attributing opinions to,
Nick. Just for the the record, the *only* thing I wrote was the part
about the Masi killing lions with spears. It's totally plausible to me
that Neandertals killed large animals with spears.

Steve Barnard