Re: Speciation - how do you know?

Nick Maclaren (
17 Sep 1996 10:44:30 GMT

In article <>, (Paul Crowley) writes:
|> In article <>
|> "David Sierra" writes:
|> > I seem to remember a traditional type of hunt, particularly in western
|> > Europe that involved "closing" with the animal in question, usually a
|> > large wild boar [very nasty animal], goading it into charging and
|> > "setting" a spear wereupon the creature in question would impale itself on the
|> > spear and die fighting.
|> Yes, but the nobles were on large, fast, horses. They had lances and
|> other weapons, such as crossbows. They were fairly safe unless they
|> dismounted. They could harry the boar until it was exhausted.

However, during the days of the British Raj, pigsticking was commonly
done on foot and some people hunted even tigers that way. In neither
case was the animal chased far before being cornered, and the animal
was often killed by a single person. The Masai think nothing of doing
the same to lions.

|> > I think a reasonably inteligent group of H.n. armed with similar spears
|> > (perhaps minus the crosspieces) would stand a very good chance against a
|> > large, ferocious, tusked, etc. creature.
|> I'm sure the gentlemen would not have risked it with a fragile wooden
|> spear. And attempting to do it all on foot would have been suicidal
|> even with weapons of medieval steel. In any case "standing a very good
|> chance" (which I don't accept) might be OK on occasion. It's not viable
|> as a regular way of life.

Pigsticking spears WERE wooden! Wood is NOT a fragile material, and
the only problems with a wooden spear is that it is not very sharp
and does not take an edge. This means that more strength is needed
to get through thick skin.

A group of humans (Neanderthal or modern) would have and has had
little trouble dealing with a red deer, reindeer, pony etc. of any
age or sex, or a wild sow, with only wooden spears or even clubs.
They might have had trouble cornering them, but that is a different
matter. Wild boars and aurochs are a little tougher.

Nick Maclaren,
University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory,
New Museums Site, Pembroke Street, Cambridge CB2 3QG, England.
Tel.: +44 1223 334761 Fax: +44 1223 334679