Re: Speciation - how do you know?

Paul Crowley (
Mon, 23 Sep 96 09:55:57 GMT

In article <> "Stephen Barnard" writes:

> If my friends and I found ourselves suddenly caught in the environment
> you describe we would be nothing like a tribe of Neanderthals.

You've introduced "suddenly" which I did not imply. I was asking
for an act of imagination -- try to put yourself in the position of
a Neanderthal and ask: "Would I hunt aurochs?". Or, if you like:
"Is it likely that my tribe would have developed a tradition of
hunting aurochs, and acquired all the appropriate skills?".

> They presumably (according to the speculation that I favor) had many
> thousands of years to develop an effective hunting technique, capable of
> bringing down formidible animals.

Why favour such an unlikely idea? It's not as if you have evidence.

Sorry to keep on about this, but it does seem to me to exemplify
much of what reigns in paleoanthropology -- beliefs in myths first
created by Victorian clergymen which have persisted long past their
"sell-by" dates.

> Look, no one knows the truth. I'm inclined to believe that they were
> effective hunters of large animals, and I believe that such a lifestyle
> explains their physique.

What explains the physique of the male gorilla? If all we had were
fossils and not the real thing, would you be telling me they must have
hunted rhino and wildebeest? OK, I'm going a bit far, but I'm sure
you get my point. Neantherthals probably got their food in as peaceful
and as mundane a way as gorillas. They probably needed their muscles
for the same reasons as gorillas - defence against predators and intra-
species competition.