Re: Speciation - how do you know?

Paul Crowley (
Mon, 16 Sep 96 19:40:23 GMT

In article <51gmfr$> "Nick Maclaren" writes:

> 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 . .

You're forgetting the relative speed and vulnerability of the
predator. When the hunted wildebeest (or other prey) turns on
a dog, it can quickly skip out of danger while others attack the
prey's rear. H.n. wouldn't have the agility for this. It would
just get mown down.

> >> 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.

I cannot see why an auroch should want to run from a group of
hominids armed only with wooden spears. If any got close to it
they would be in mortal danger without a ready mode of escape.
Have you never been worried about a bull in a field? And they
are much less dangerous than any auroch; a spear would not be
much use to you, nor would having a build like Schwarzneggar
(my spelling is getting better.)

Bushmen on the Veldt do hunt large quadrupeds. But they have much
better weapons than H.neanderthal. And we are talking about the
forests and bogs of Europe not the open country of the Veldt.
The determining argument is that H.n. was clearly not built for
such running. No such selective pressure applied to it.

Even if H.n. occasionally grounded an auroch (which I don't accept)
there is no way that doing so could have formed a regular way of

I know we all like to have some working hypothesis to explain a
phenomenon. But c'mon fellas! This one is just too bad.