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Thread: Neanderthal and human lethal interaction

  1. #1 Neanderthal and human lethal interaction 
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    Reference : New Scientist, 23 August 2014, page 10

    I have been overseas for the past two weeks, and just catching up. This seems a good place to post a new thread.

    This argument is based on new dating methods, used to determine accurate dates for Neanderthal and early human artifacts in Europe. Some earlier work has suggested that Neanderthals lived as late as 23,000 years ago. But the authors of this study, who re-did the dates, say there is now no credible evidence of that. In fact, it looks as though all Neanderthals had died out by 40,000 years ago.

    As an example, in Italy, the first human artifacts were dated at 45,000 years ago, and the last Neanderthal artifacts at 42,000 years ago. A 3,000 year time sfrom human arrival and Neanderthal extinction. A similar pattern follows for the rest of Europe. This cannot be coincidence. Something about the arrival of humans led to the extinction of Neanderthals.

    This does not, of course, prove humans physically killed off Neanderthals, and many authorities believe it was competition for food. Some suggest that Neanderthals had already suffered a major set back due to climate change and a cold snap. Humans would then simply be the last straw.

    I disagree.
    The reason I disagree is because I am aware of just how murderous primitive humans are. Anthropology studies show that primitive tribal groups, such as those studied over the past 100 odd years in the Amazon and in Papua New Guinea, wage an almost perpetual war against other tribes, and murders are rife. Some tribes have been shown to lose 10% of their male members every generation to murder by males from other tribes.

    How much more vicious would such wars and murders be between two different species of human? Some Neanderthal genes would enter the human gene pool via sexual slavery (common in those primitive human tribes), but a steady series of hostile acts, and murders would winnow down the Neanderthal population so that, over a few thousand years, they would be wiped out entirely.

    Neanderthals lived in Europe for 300,000 years, very successfully. They survived numerous climate change events, and changes to the ecological make up of their territories. Yet when humans arrived, they were gone within a few thousand years. Why?


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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Neanderthals lived in Europe for 300,000 years, very successfully. They survived numerous climate change events, and changes to the ecological make up of their territories. Yet when humans arrived, they were gone within a few thousand years. Why?
    Your argument appears to be that they were not human enough.

    I should like to see the data on which the researchers base their dates.

    I should like to see the critiques of other workers in the field.

    I should like to see what alternative explanations have been explored and why they have been rejected. (For example, ebola is in the news at present. Let's imagine a virulent pathogen that is resident in the human population and which we have acquired some immunity to. However, for the Neanderthals it is has a very high mortality rate.)

    I should like to see some modelling of what rate of attrition would be required to eliminate the Neanderthals in 3,000 years and analysis of whether the required parameters are plausible.

    In short, this is interesting, but I wouldn't rush out to demand updated textbooks on the basis of it.


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    Some interesting ideas being raised. When you look at the effect that European settlers had on the indigenous people of North America by their importing disease along with their arrival, it could be something equally as simple with the Neanderthals. Competition for habitat and resources also, no doubt, but an epidemic would certainly stack the odds in favor of those with greater immunity.
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    I doubt it would be a single disease, since the extinction took thousands of years. More likely a whittling of the Neanderthal population.
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    Rivalry is certainly a factor to consider. Even as small a region as the Yukon Territory is home to at least 9 distinct groups of First Nations peoples and according to the elders, it was not very many generations back that there was outright wars fought over traditional territories and women (of course ). The advent of European settlers seemed to diffuse these battles somewhat, for now they had a new threat in common.

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    Do you have a link to this article? I would very much like to read it.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Reference : New Scientist, 23 August 2014, page 10

    I have been overseas for the past two weeks, and just catching up. This seems a good place to post a new thread.

    This argument is based on new dating methods, used to determine accurate dates for Neanderthal and early human artifacts in Europe. Some earlier work has suggested that Neanderthals lived as late as 23,000 years ago. But the authors of this study, who re-did the dates, say there is now no credible evidence of that. In fact, it looks as though all Neanderthals had died out by 40,000 years ago.

    As an example, in Italy, the first human artifacts were dated at 45,000 years ago, and the last Neanderthal artifacts at 42,000 years ago. A 3,000 year time sfrom human arrival and Neanderthal extinction. A similar pattern follows for the rest of Europe. This cannot be coincidence. Something about the arrival of humans led to the extinction of Neanderthals.

    This does not, of course, prove humans physically killed off Neanderthals, and many authorities believe it was competition for food. Some suggest that Neanderthals had already suffered a major set back due to climate change and a cold snap. Humans would then simply be the last straw.

    I disagree.
    The reason I disagree is because I am aware of just how murderous primitive humans are. Anthropology studies show that primitive tribal groups, such as those studied over the past 100 odd years in the Amazon and in Papua New Guinea, wage an almost perpetual war against other tribes, and murders are rife. Some tribes have been shown to lose 10% of their male members every generation to murder by males from other tribes.

    How much more vicious would such wars and murders be between two different species of human? Some Neanderthal genes would enter the human gene pool via sexual slavery (common in those primitive human tribes), but a steady series of hostile acts, and murders would winnow down the Neanderthal population so that, over a few thousand years, they would be wiped out entirely.

    Neanderthals lived in Europe for 300,000 years, very successfully. They survived numerous climate change events, and changes to the ecological make up of their territories. Yet when humans arrived, they were gone within a few thousand years. Why?
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    Neanderthals: Bone technique redrafts prehistory : Nature News & Comment

    Diego

    The article I read was in the New Scientist mag. But a similar article is referenced above. Not as detailed, but you may find it interesting.

    Assuming the researchers are correct (and some other researchers are miffed since they are shown to be wrong, and will not agree), then the overlap period between humans arriving and Neanderthals going extinct, is about 5,000 years. Since the human arrival is not at all places at the same time, this seems to me to be incompatible with a single catastrophe such as a plague, but compatible with a gradual winnowing of the Neanderthal population, such as human/Neanderthal conflict and a slow process of killing off those you can.
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    Maybe we ate them all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Neanderthals: Bone technique redrafts prehistory : Nature News & Comment

    Diego

    The article I read was in the New Scientist mag. But a similar article is referenced above. Not as detailed, but you may find it interesting.

    Assuming the researchers are correct (and some other researchers are miffed since they are shown to be wrong, and will not agree), then the overlap period between humans arriving and Neanderthals going extinct, is about 5,000 years. Since the human arrival is not at all places at the same time, this seems to me to be incompatible with a single catastrophe such as a plague, but compatible with a gradual winnowing of the Neanderthal population, such as human/Neanderthal conflict and a slow process of killing off those you can.
    A link to the study in Nature can be found here: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal...ture13621.html

    I think that's a bit of a stretch to make such a claim. We simply do not know. There are a lot of theories for why they became extinct. From competition for resources, pathogens, violence and interbreeding, climate change events and bred out of existence with homo sapiens. What we do know for certain is that interbreeding did occur in some populations, where homo sapiens and neanderthal's coexisted, since non-Africans share a percentage of Neanderthal DNA. It could very well be a combination of a variety of reasons. This isn't even touching on the Denisovans who also existed in parts of what is now Russia and Asia during the same time, and who also not only existed at around the same time, but also interbred with both neanderthals and homo sapiens.
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    Another theory, which makes the most sense to me, is that the Neanderthals did not die out at all, but are here among us, and, of course, our fellow human beings. Look at the actor Hawthorne James (chiefly known as the original bus driver in Speed). Tell me he has no Neanderthal blood? Look at that brow ridge!

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    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    Rivalry is certainly a factor to consider. Even as small a region as the Yukon Territory is home to at least 9 distinct groups of First Nations peoples and according to the elders, it was not very many generations back that there was outright wars fought over traditional territories and women (of course ). The advent of European settlers seemed to diffuse these battles somewhat, for now they had a new threat in common.
    The Yukon is an excellent example. Prior to European contact there was an invasion comparable to Sapiens entering Europe: As sea otter got depleted, families and whole tribes of Tlingit fur traders (to the Russians, then) migrated inland. They spoke different languages, their ways were alien, their intention was to strip every pelt out of the Yukon as they had on the coast. They would have brought iron tools and cynical attitudes too. Many of these families settled in the Yukon, and receive no grudge apparently. On the other hand the host population didn't get genocided or displaced, more than was ordinary for the time.


    I agree with Skeptic prehistoric people tended to bigotry and warfare. Moreover we must assume this goes back at least as far as our split from chimpanzees, since they're as bad as we in that regard.

    Outright murder isn't necessary, because Neanderthals' lack of social sophistication would make them easy targets for manipulation, swindling, slavery. I doubt it takes many generations of selling the fabled cow for "magic beans", to diminish a people by attrition. We have historical and ongoing examples of that.
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    I don't feel like setting up referred quotes, excuse me.

    Two things: Homo sapiens did not diverge from chimpanzees; we share a common ancestor. And I don't see why inter-species (if that's what it was) war between our ancestors and Neanderthals would be any more or less vicious than modern 'primitives' fighting today. Brutality is brutality. Do we really need to calculate and compare it?
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    Quote Originally Posted by 甘肃人 View Post
    Homo sapiens did not diverge from chimpanzees; we share a common ancestor.
    That was my meaning. Since we share the trait (and its a weird one) we must assume it's at least as old as our divergence. I'd guess older, because the trait itself can explain this divergence, that was of course merely cultural or ethnic to begin with.

    Why speculate about the doom of an apparently extinct species? Well, I'm not sure they were simply hunted like animals, and there are other explanations. For example in case of interbreeding, there are reproductive inequalities and complications that would profit sapiens at neanderthal expense.
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    Do they know how many chromosomes neanderthals had? All the other apes have 48 whereas humans have 46.
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    Most likely 46, but it's not definitive.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 甘肃人 View Post
    Most likely 46, but it's not definitive.
    Humans and Neanderthal interbred to some extent, so it is likely we had the same chromosome number. But I know they have recently studied the DNA make-up of Neanderthals so I was wondering if they counted the number of chromosomes. I'll look it up.

    [Sorry a bit tired.]
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by 甘肃人 View Post
    Most likely 46, but it's not definitive.
    Humans and Neanderthal interbred to some extent, so it is likely we had the same chromosome number. But I know they have recently studied the DNA make-up of Neanderthals so I was wondering if they counted the number of chromosomes. I'll look it up.

    [Sorry a bit tired.]
    According to Stanford University it isn't known how many chromosomes Neanderthals had.
    Understanding Genetics
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    All dogs are genetically capable of interbreeding, yet a husky-terrier hybrid is unlikely.

    We do know the constraints of a neanderthal woman's pelvis, and the probable delivery strategy of how her baby's oversized head must mold and rotate through the birth canal. As with sapiens the advantage of delivering the largest brain possible is so great that labour becomes a finely balanced ordeal that won't quite kill the woman. Sapiens solved the problem by adding additional brain to the top of the head, and birthing crown-first. Meanwhile neanderthals had even larger brains, expanded back not up, and birthed like most animals snout-first. Either strategy works, but a hybrid head is not going to pass easily in - what? - forehead-first position? No, the problem essentially is of square or round holes, and a peg that's neither very square nor round.

    I suppose it could be done. I wonder which species' mother would have lower mortality? I think we'd have a record of this in disproportionate mitochondrial (maternal) DNA from one "species" or the other.

    Besides birth complications, there's the problem of nursing an infant. Neanderthal babies grew quite rapidly, so their mothers must have produced more milk, or richer milk, or both. That's a boost to the hybrid whose mom's a neanderthal. Meanwhile hybrids with sapiens moms would be under-nourished.

    Remember the game's all about producing reproductively successful offspring.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong View Post

    Remember the game's all about producing reproductively successful offspring.
    And surviving long enough to do it.

    If humans were actively killing Neanderthals, their chances of producing offspring drop dramatically. Humans had certain advantages, such as a shoulder joint well adapted to throwing. Neanderthals do not seem to have had this, and a thrown spear is more effective than one held in the hands.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong View Post
    All dogs are genetically capable of interbreeding, yet a husky-terrier hybrid is unlikely.

    We do know the constraints of a neanderthal woman's pelvis, and the probable delivery strategy of how her baby's oversized head must mold and rotate through the birth canal. As with sapiens the advantage of delivering the largest brain possible is so great that labour becomes a finely balanced ordeal that won't quite kill the woman. Sapiens solved the problem by adding additional brain to the top of the head, and birthing crown-first. Meanwhile neanderthals had even larger brains, expanded back not up, and birthed like most animals snout-first. Either strategy works, but a hybrid head is not going to pass easily in - what? - forehead-first position? No, the problem essentially is of square or round holes, and a peg that's neither very square nor round.

    I suppose it could be done. I wonder which species' mother would have lower mortality? I think we'd have a record of this in disproportionate mitochondrial (maternal) DNA from one "species" or the other.
    Either that, or the hybrids who were fortunate enough to inherit the "crown first" trait were the only ones whose sapiens mothers survived birth.

    Also there appears to be a small amount of truth to Tolkien's idea of the "Orcs" being unable to function during daylight.

    BBC News - Neanderthals' large eyes 'caused their demise'


    It seems that the Neanderthals had exceptionally big eyes, presumed to be for the purpose of night vision.

    So maybe Saruman really did start breeding Orcs with Humans, to create the Uruk-Hai??? (Just kidding. I doubt anyone back then would have had the idea to do that on purpose.)
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    The large eye, therefore small brain hypothesis does not make much sense. A small difference in brain size, or cerebral cortex size, should not prove anything. After all, women have appreciably smaller brains than men, and it is more than my life is worth to tell my wife this makes her less intelligent.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post

    And surviving long enough to do it.

    If humans were actively killing Neanderthals, their chances of producing offspring drop dramatically. Humans had certain advantages, such as a shoulder joint well adapted to throwing. Neanderthals do not seem to have had this, and a thrown spear is more effective than one held in the hands.
    Neanderthal's may very well have had better brute strength. Don't forget, they had also had more time to adapt to the changing environment across Europe and Asia, as well as bred with at least one other hominid species which could have improved their genetic stock.

    It is quite possible that a range of factors saw to their demise, from violence from humans, breeding with humans, being negatively impacted by the changing climate, possible pathogens (keep in mind that something like the common cold can decimate a population that has never come into contact with it - or things like smallpox (remember how it was used as a weapon against natives of countries being colonised)) or competition for resources.

    We see it today, with species affected by many of these factors becoming extinct.

    The benefit homo sapiens gained in breeding with neanderthals and denisovans and possibly other hominid species is that it helped improve our resistances and as such, improved our genetic stock.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Humans had certain advantages, such as a shoulder joint well adapted to throwing. Neanderthals do not seem to have had this, and a thrown spear is more effective than one held in the hands.
    That's thinking with your occipital lobes, like a neanderthal. Think like a man, with your superior frontal lobes: you can kill a neanderthal just as surely in the dead of winter, by stealing its mittens.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong View Post

    Remember the game's all about producing reproductively successful offspring.
    And surviving long enough to do it.

    If humans were actively killing Neanderthals, their chances of producing offspring drop dramatically. Humans had certain advantages, such as a shoulder joint well adapted to throwing. Neanderthals do not seem to have had this, and a thrown spear is more effective than one held in the hands.
    While without doubt many of them were slaughtered outright, I still maintain that Neanderthals were absorbed into the homo sapiens race. "Resistance was futile." My favorite anthropology professor, quoting some greater anthropologist, liked to say, "Wherever men have fought, men have fought." he used fought the second time in place of a cruder word that also begins with F .
    Last edited by 甘肃人; September 24th, 2014 at 09:58 AM. Reason: capitalization of first word.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 甘肃人 View Post
    While without doubt many of them were slaughtered outright, I still maintain that Neanderthals were absorbed into the homo sapiens race.
    Two assertions. What are your supporting citations for these assertions?
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    The total number of Neanderthal genes identified in humans is very small. Some interbreeding, yes. But absorption, no.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    The total number of Neanderthal genes identified in humans is very small. Some interbreeding, yes. But absorption, no.
    Good point. And for all we know, the sum total of all Neanderthal DNA in the modern human genome could have been inherited from just one hybrid. Maybe the crossover of his/her DNA helped him/her so much that his/her offspring gained a huge advantage over the other Homo Sapiens and spread their DNA far and wide.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    The large eye, therefore small brain hypothesis does not make much sense. A small difference in brain size, or cerebral cortex size, should not prove anything. After all, women have appreciably smaller brains than men, and it is more than my life is worth to tell my wife this makes her less intelligent.
    Note that the hypothesis does not attempt to say the Neanderthal's brain was small. It's a known fact Neanderthals' brains were slightly bigger than Homo Sapiens' brains. The hypothesis is that the reason it didn't make them smarter is because so much of it had to be devoted to the bigger eyes and bigger lean body mass. Much like how Elephants don't demonstrate higher intelligence than humans despite their much bigger brains, because they have more body to control with that brain of theirs.

    However it's interesting to consider what this could mean for a Neanderthal/Sapiens crossover. Suppose the hybrid is fortunate enough to inherit his/her Sapien parent's small eyes, but still gets its Neanderthal parent's big visual cortex. What might might the hybrid achieve with all of that extra spatial/visual processing power? Maybe become an early mathematician? Or failing that, a great planner of hunts/battles? Or an artist?

    Or both? Someone who can plan a hunt, and paint a picture on a cave wall of what they've planned for the others in the tribe to see and understand the plan better?
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    The total number of Neanderthal genes identified in humans is very small. Some interbreeding, yes. But absorption, no.
    also examination of the DNA evidence shows that the interbreeding happened around 90,000 years ago, presumably in the Middle East, and not between 30,000 and 40,000 years ago during the incursion of H.sapiens into Western Europe
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    the interbreeding happened around 90,000 years ago, presumably in the Middle East, and not between 30,000 and 40,000 years ago during the incursion of H.sapiens into Western Europe
    Thanks. From this we presume sapiens colonizing northward already had some neanderthal in them (maybe more than now?). One could even suggest it was the neanderthal element in sapiens that enabled the incursion.
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    i think a lot of the flux of populations is expansion and contraction of suitable habitat and not directed migration
    it appears that between 40,000 and 30,000 years ago there were frequent massive and fast swings in climate which would have stressed any population, and may well have reduced neandertals, who unlike H.sapiens had no easy route for migrating south, to remnant populations before there was any contact with the expanding area occupied by our ancestors
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    Totally agree about migration being non-directed.

    I think you're saying H.sapiens were better migrators. If so, please elaborate. Or is this just the obvious conclusion but we don't yet understand why they migrated more quickly.
    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    neandertals, who unlike H.sapiens had no easy route for migrating south
    South from where? Europe or the M.E?

    If we suppose sapiens had canoes, but neanderthals didn't, that alone would explain a better migration rate. For example (stone tool, pre-agricultural) Natives of the Pacific Northwest routinely paddled up to 1,000 Km (the length of the Adriatic) in seasonal migration; and relocation over generations could easily exceed that distance where a new land had no defenders.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong View Post
    I think you're saying H.sapiens were better migrators.
    no, what i'm saying that H.sapiens, at the more recent date of 40,000 year had learnt to tap the resources of the treeless steppe environment, whereas neanderthals tended to stay near partly wooded environments or at best at the margins of the steppe

    that way, when the ice age neared its peak and the mammoth steppe expanded to take up a large part of western europe, H.sapiens found the conditions more suited to their preferred habitat - in short, they expanded with the size of their preferred habitat
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    I get it. And though neanderthals moved wherever forests moved, they were mainly confined to the northern edge.

    I'm assuming that with dropping temperatures boreal forests will spread south, even beyond the range of mammoth deforestation e.g. Lebanon. But cut-off pockets of neanderthals are precarious.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong View Post
    I think you're saying H.sapiens were better migrators.
    no, what i'm saying that H.sapiens, at the more recent date of 40,000 year had learnt to tap the resources of the treeless steppe environment, whereas neanderthals tended to stay near partly wooded environments or at best at the margins of the steppe
    How would H. Sapiens survive in a cold region with no wood? What are they going to build a fire from?

    I know Eskimos can use stuff like whale blubber, but are we to assume H. Sapiens had that kind of technology that early on, to be able to use mammoth fat or something?
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post

    How would H. Sapiens survive in a cold region with no wood? What are they going to build a fire from?

    I know Eskimos can use stuff like whale blubber, but are we to assume H. Sapiens had that kind of technology that early on, to be able to use mammoth fat or something?
    The use of skins and pelts to keep warm for one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong View Post
    I think you're saying H.sapiens were better migrators.
    no, what i'm saying that H.sapiens, at the more recent date of 40,000 year had learnt to tap the resources of the treeless steppe environment, whereas neanderthals tended to stay near partly wooded environments or at best at the margins of the steppe
    How would H. Sapiens survive in a cold region with no wood? What are they going to build a fire from?

    I know Eskimos can use stuff like whale blubber, but are we to assume H. Sapiens had that kind of technology that early on, to be able to use mammoth fat or something?
    Even if there are no trees there might be scrub, hardy bushes that make good fire too. They haven't developed axes that could tackle big logs yet either.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    How would H. Sapiens survive in a cold region with no wood? What are they going to build a fire from?

    I know Eskimos can use stuff like whale blubber, but are we to assume H. Sapiens had that kind of technology that early on, to be able to use mammoth fat or something?
    Dung, peat, and bones were also burned for heat. Shelters were typically thick-walled and cramped without any room to walk or even stand.

    The primary way to keep warm in Arctic conditions is to burn calories for body heat. Thus the diet absurdly high in animal fat, that would kill a person in warmer climates.

    The neanderthal skeleton is well-adapted to support a great bulk of fat, so those folk could probably survive longer between gorgings.
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    Wearing skins requires a knowledge of tanning. Untanned skins will rot away quite rapidly. Fortunately, crude tanning is not difficult. A sharp shard of flint may be used to remove an animal skin, and scrape off all extraneous flesh and fat. Then the skin is immersed in a pool of water, to which a lot of tree bark is added, which has been smashed into small pieces. Soaking in this brew for a month leaves the skin tanned. It has to be softened also, which is done physically, by pounding it with a rock, and bending it repeatedly till it becomes soft enough to wrap around oneself. No great technology required, but a certain experience and a lot of work.

    The other tool required to make clothes out of animal skins is a needle, to draw a thread of sinew or plant fibre - the earliest sewing. Crude needles from carved bone have been found in the fossil record. I do not know if tanning and sewing were a part of human technology back in the time when humans and Neanderthals overlapped.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Wearing skins requires a knowledge of tanning. Untanned skins will rot away quite rapidly. Fortunately, crude tanning is not difficult. A sharp shard of flint may be used to remove an animal skin, and scrape off all extraneous flesh and fat. Then the skin is immersed in a pool of water, to which a lot of tree bark is added, which has been smashed into small pieces. Soaking in this brew for a month leaves the skin tanned. It has to be softened also, which is done physically, by pounding it with a rock, and bending it repeatedly till it becomes soft enough to wrap around oneself. No great technology required, but a certain experience and a lot of work.

    The other tool required to make clothes out of animal skins is a needle, to draw a thread of sinew or plant fibre - the earliest sewing. Crude needles from carved bone have been found in the fossil record. I do not know if tanning and sewing were a part of human technology back in the time when humans and Neanderthals overlapped.
    Was tanning discovered by trial and error or by accident? It has been quite a major advance in human development, tanning is still being done today, we've never fully gone away from it even though synthetics has taken over in the last 100 years or so.
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    The Inuit (Eskimo) method of "tanning" certainly evolved by natural behaviour: The women scrape raw skins clean of flesh and fat. This they eat. Then they chew the skins. Cooped up for months at a time they just keep chewing these skins over and over... what else is there to do? That's all there is to preparing skins the traditional Inuit way. But this does yield the most supple material, that won't stiffen at any temperature.

    Obviously its a maxim that a man whose wife is toothless, is a dead man.

    EDIT: I hadn't mentioned that anthropologists remarked upon Inuit women's well-developed jaws. But now I recall neanderthals also had relatively muscular jaws, and it makes me wonder.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong View Post
    The Inuit (Eskimo) method of "tanning" certainly evolved by natural behaviour: The women scrape raw skins clean of flesh and fat. This they eat. Then they chew the skins. Cooped up for months at a time they just keep chewing these skins over and over... what else is there to do? That's all there is to preparing skins the traditional Inuit way. But this does yield the most supple material, that won't stiffen at any temperature.

    Obviously its a maxim that a man whose wife is toothless, is a dead man.

    EDIT: I hadn't mentioned that anthropologists remarked upon Inuit women's well-developed jaws. But now I recall neanderthals also had relatively muscular jaws, and it makes me wonder.
    From that I'm wondering whether leather making knowledge came as a result of extreme hunger, early man had to resort to chewing skins, but then found the skins were supple and had other uses after that. The earliest use was just to cover their stick framed shelters???
    In fact the invention of mobile housing would have been early man's big advances. Once you are no longer tied to dwelling in natural caves you have the ability to follow the herds as they migrated to their grazing fields. Was this the advantage Homo sapiens had over Neanderthals?
    Last edited by Robittybob1; September 28th, 2014 at 02:45 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    How would H. Sapiens survive in a cold region with no wood? What are they going to build a fire from?
    bones burn pretty well too
    say you found a mammoth skeleton, that would supply you with (1) the building materials for making huts in a treeless environment (using skins to cover the bones, obviously); and (2) and material to keep fires going - remember fresh bone contains quite a bit of organic material that keeps your fires burning for a long time
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    How would H. Sapiens survive in a cold region with no wood? What are they going to build a fire from?
    bones burn pretty well too
    say you found a mammoth skeleton, that would supply you with (1) the building materials for making huts in a treeless environment (using skins to cover the bones, obviously); and (2) and material to keep fires going - remember fresh bone contains quite a bit of organic material that keeps your fires burning for a long time
    Have you seen bones burning?
    Quote Originally Posted by answers.com
    Human bones do burn. In a crematorium the temperature is set between 760 to 1150C and the burning process takes 90 to 120 minutes. What remains are dry bone fragments. The colour is usually light gray
    In other words you need a pretty substantial fire going in the first place.
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    Pong

    The Inuits (and other Arctic tribes) cannot tan skins due to lack of tree bark. However, they also live in the only place where untanned skins do not rot.

    It is probable that the original secret of tanning was discovered by accident. Perhaps a scrap of skin was dropped into a pond that had a felled tree across it, filling it with tree bark??? A genius saw the result and took it from there. Or something similar.

    No doubt early man experimented with different kinds of tree bark to get the best end result.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Pong

    The Inuits (and other Arctic tribes) cannot tan skins due to lack of tree bark. However, they also live in the only place where untanned skins do not rot.

    It is probable that the original secret of tanning was discovered by accident. Perhaps a scrap of skin was dropped into a pond that had a felled tree across it, filling it with tree bark??? A genius saw the result and took it from there. Or something similar.

    No doubt early man experimented with different kinds of tree bark to get the best end result.
    This article was fairly well researched and interesting to read.

    A Brief History of World Costume
    Prehistory | A Brief History of World Costume

    Would they put the fur side to their skin or the flesh side? I think I'd prefer the softer side myself.
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    Just a point here about terminology. Weirdly, in recent years, it has become politically correct to call all high latitude Arctic native Inuits. That is incorrect. There are three major super-tribes. Inuits are the tribes covering most of Alaska, north Canada, and Greenland, although the Inuits of most of Alaska prefer to be called Eskimos. The term Eskimo for other tribes is an insult due to a language difference. In the languages outside Alaska, it has an insulting meaning (eaters of raw meat). In Alaska, it means 'makers of netted snowshoes'.

    The natives of high latitude Arctic Russia are called Yupiks. To complicate matters, the natives of west Alaska are also Yupiks.

    The natives of the Aleutian Islands across to Russia are called Aleuts. To use the term Inuit for those living in Siberia or the Aleutians is an insult.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Pong

    The Inuits (and other Arctic tribes) cannot tan skins due to lack of tree bark. However, they also live in the only place where untanned skins do not rot.

    It is probable that the original secret of tanning was discovered by accident. Perhaps a scrap of skin was dropped into a pond that had a felled tree across it, filling it with tree bark??? A genius saw the result and took it from there. Or something similar.

    No doubt early man experimented with different kinds of tree bark to get the best end result.
    Another possibility would be if tree bark were used as the earliest source of clothing material. Or some kind of plant material were used to cobble fur together and press it to the body.

    Even without the technology for tanning, you can still use an animal's fur. The trick is finding a way to keep it together and attached to you.

    Perhaps the first shoes were slabs of wood. And the introduction of wood and hide came by experimenting with using hide to fortify the wood?
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Pong

    The Inuits (and other Arctic tribes) cannot tan skins due to lack of tree bark. However, they also live in the only place where untanned skins do not rot.

    It is probable that the original secret of tanning was discovered by accident. Perhaps a scrap of skin was dropped into a pond that had a felled tree across it, filling it with tree bark??? A genius saw the result and took it from there. Or something similar.

    No doubt early man experimented with different kinds of tree bark to get the best end result.
    Another possibility would be if tree bark were used as the earliest source of clothing material. Or some kind of plant material were used to cobble fur together and press it to the body.

    Even without the technology for tanning, you can still use an animal's fur. The trick is finding a way to keep it together and attached to you.

    Perhaps the first shoes were slabs of wood. And the introduction of wood and hide came by experimenting with using hide to fortify the wood?
    It seems more plausible that plant materials were explored first e.g. flaxes, large leaves, and hammered bark (tapa cloth)
    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia
    Tapa cloth (or simply tapa) is a barkcloth made in the islands of the Pacific Ocean,
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    As you are presently discussing clothing made from fur, we were taught how to make a pair of warm emergency socks by taking the green hides of rabbits and pulling them on your foot, fur side in and letting them take the shape of your foot. Rabbit is not a particularly durable hide but it rabbits are generally plentiful in their habitats and so are replaceable and the meat can be eaten. The sinews of various animals were made into lashing materials and also thin strips of various hides were used as 'rawhide' which is very pliable when green and very hard and durable when dried.
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    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    As you are presently discussing clothing made from fur, we were taught how to make a pair of warm emergency socks by taking the green hides of rabbits and pulling them on your foot, fur side in and letting them take the shape of your foot. Rabbit is not a particularly durable hide but it rabbits are generally plentiful in their habitats and so are replaceable and the meat can be eaten. The sinews of various animals were made into lashing materials and also thin strips of various hides were used as 'rawhide' which is very pliable when green and very hard and durable when dried.
    Even if rabbits are plentiful you still have have to catch one, in fact at least two before you make a simple pair of shoes. No guns , no metal traps, no bow and arrows so you are left with snaring the rabbit. I suppose you only need to set a few snares and you'd get them OK.
    I've never snared a rabbit but I thought about it a few times. Probably not legal today.
    The snares today seem to use wire, so that wasn't around 60,000 years ago, so I wonder what the Homo sapiens and Neanderthals used? A flax string or a strip of hide? These wouldn't have been the easiest to keep open. Maybe they used fine twigs to hold the loops open.
    But the footwear would be most welcome when the snows started falling.
    Last edited by Robittybob1; September 29th, 2014 at 12:50 AM.
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    Hadn't considered the possibility that maybe animal hides were used as clothing in spite of their tendency to rot. I mean, they're still good until they rot, right?

    So when the men aren't out hunting, they're huddling naked in a cave together around a fire. Then when they go out to hunt, they cut some hide off the last mammoth they've killed, and fashion clothing from it, and go out and kill another Mammoth.

    Furthermore, during the cold months, the outside air is a natural refrigerator, so if they leave their clothing outside the cave it will be refrigerated to help prevent it from rotting.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Hadn't considered the possibility that maybe animal hides were used as clothing in spite of their tendency to rot. I mean, they're still good until they rot, right?

    So when the men aren't out hunting, they're huddling naked in a cave together around a fire. Then when they go out to hunt, they cut some hide off the last mammoth they've killed, and fashion clothing from it, and go out and kill another Mammoth.

    Furthermore, during the cold months, the outside air is a natural refrigerator, so if they leave their clothing outside the cave it will be refrigerated to help prevent it from rotting.
    They must have been hardy for a frozen skin put on in the morning chill air would have been too much for me. What is the evidence we hunted mammoths? Is that a truth or just a myth? There's a big difference in hunting rabbits and mammoths. You'd end up with so many injuries it wouldn't be worth it.
    A cloak made from mammoth hide would be so heavy you wouldn't be able to stand up under it!
    Goat skins would be a lot better but lamb skins would be the best.
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    They may well have used horse-hide, which is much lighter, very durable and still used today as a superior leather.

    Neanderthals were expert butchers: Ancient hunters only took the choicest cuts from mammoths, bones reveal


    • Animal bones were found at a Middle Palaeolithic site in Quincieux, France
    • They belong to mammoths, woolly rhinoceros, horse, bison and reindeer
    • The bones are between 33,000 and 55,000 years old
    • Archaeologists from Inrap believe Neanderthals may have butchered large herbivores, only carrying the meatiest parts back to their homes
    • This because 'long bones' were not found with carcasses

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    Interestingly, the rabbit may have been a contributing factor in the competition between Neanderthal and humans, for a number of reasons.

    Fa and his team analyzed animal bone remains spanning a period of 50,000 years from Neanderthal and modern-human-occupied sites across Iberia, the part of Europe that includes Spain and Portugal, and southern France.

    They found that rabbit remains only started to became common at sites around 30,000 years ago, which is around the time that Neanderthals started to disappear and—perhaps not coincidentally—when modern humans first arrived in Europe.
    The authors speculate that over the course of thousands of years, as climate change or human hunting pressure whittled down populations of Iberian large animals such as woolly mammoths, rabbits would have become an increasingly important food resource.
    But Neanderthals may have been unable or unwilling to "prey shift" to smaller game, the authors argue in a new study, which will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Human Evolution.
    "Neanderthals were large mammals hunters, par excellence," Fa said, but they "could have found it difficult to hunt the smaller, but superabundant, rabbit."
    Failure to Hunt Rabbits Part of Neanderthals' Demise?
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    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    Interestingly, the rabbit may have been a contributing factor in the competition between Neanderthal and humans, for a number of reasons.
    "Neanderthals were large mammals hunters, par excellence," Fa said, but they "could have found it difficult to hunt the smaller, but superabundant, rabbit."
    Failure to Hunt Rabbits Part of Neanderthals' Demise?
    i'm sorry, that just doesn't ring true in the case of the Gibraltar neanderthals, whose diet was far more varied than what had been assumed so far - in this wikipedia article it is claimed that "In addition to large animals, they also ate very large quantities of small mammals and birds. 80% of the bones found in the caves are those of rabbits, which would have been abundant in the coastal sand dunes."
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    Interestingly, the rabbit may have been a contributing factor in the competition between Neanderthal and humans, for a number of reasons.
    "Neanderthals were large mammals hunters, par excellence," Fa said, but they "could have found it difficult to hunt the smaller, but superabundant, rabbit."
    Failure to Hunt Rabbits Part of Neanderthals' Demise?
    i'm sorry, that just doesn't ring true in the case of the Gibraltar neanderthals, whose diet was far more varied than what had been assumed so far - in this wikipedia article it is claimed that "In addition to large animals, they also ate very large quantities of small mammals and birds. 80% of the bones found in the caves are those of rabbits, which would have been abundant in the coastal sand dunes."
    So maybe the Neanderthals died of rabbit starvation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    Interestingly, the rabbit may have been a contributing factor in the competition between Neanderthal and humans, for a number of reasons.
    "Neanderthals were large mammals hunters, par excellence," Fa said, but they "could have found it difficult to hunt the smaller, but superabundant, rabbit."
    Failure to Hunt Rabbits Part of Neanderthals' Demise?
    i'm sorry, that just doesn't ring true in the case of the Gibraltar neanderthals, whose diet was far more varied than what had been assumed so far - in this wikipedia article it is claimed that "In addition to large animals, they also ate very large quantities of small mammals and birds. 80% of the bones found in the caves are those of rabbits, which would have been abundant in the coastal sand dunes."
    It seems that this population of Neanderthals may have been the last of their kind and may well have been more adaptable than the northern Neanderthals.

    The following are quotes from your link.

    Gibraltar's Neanderthals may have been the last members of their species. They are thought to have died out around 24,000 years ago, at least 2,000 years after the extinction of the last Neanderthal populations elsewhere in Europe.
    The ultimate cause of the extinction of the Gibraltar Neanderthals is not known but was probably not due to competition with modern humans, who did not arrive in the area until about 18,000 years ago. Their population had probably been shrinking for millennia and the abrupt climate change may have stressed them beyond recovery, leaving them vulnerable to the effects of inbreeding and outbreaks of disease
    The article I cited is just one argument and not everyone agrees with the hypothesis. I did find it interesting and thought it relevant to this thread.
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    Tell me about the rabbits, scheherazade!

    And what does the Lord require of you but to love justice, to be merciful and to walk humbly with Him?
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    Interestingly, the rabbit may have been a contributing factor in the competition between Neanderthal and humans, for a number of reasons.
    "Neanderthals were large mammals hunters, par excellence," Fa said, but they "could have found it difficult to hunt the smaller, but superabundant, rabbit."
    Failure to Hunt Rabbits Part of Neanderthals' Demise?
    i'm sorry, that just doesn't ring true in the case of the Gibraltar neanderthals, whose diet was far more varied than what had been assumed so far - in this wikipedia article it is claimed that "In addition to large animals, they also ate very large quantities of small mammals and birds. 80% of the bones found in the caves are those of rabbits, which would have been abundant in the coastal sand dunes."
    In NZ the rabbit has at times over populated to the point where every bit of vegetation is stripped bare, no food left for any other animal. Maybe the Neaderthals were forced into a vitamin C deficiency for they had no greens to eat due to the rabbits. Eating more rabbit meat would not be the answer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    Interestingly, the rabbit may have been a contributing factor in the competition between Neanderthal and humans, for a number of reasons.
    "Neanderthals were large mammals hunters, par excellence," Fa said, but they "could have found it difficult to hunt the smaller, but superabundant, rabbit."
    Failure to Hunt Rabbits Part of Neanderthals' Demise?
    i'm sorry, that just doesn't ring true in the case of the Gibraltar neanderthals, whose diet was far more varied than what had been assumed so far - in this wikipedia article it is claimed that "In addition to large animals, they also ate very large quantities of small mammals and birds. 80% of the bones found in the caves are those of rabbits, which would have been abundant in the coastal sand dunes."
    In NZ the rabbit has at times over populated to the point where every bit of vegetation is stripped bare, no food left for any other animal. Maybe the Neaderthals were forced into a vitamin C deficiency for they had no greens to eat due to the rabbits. Eating more rabbit meat would not be the answer.
    I think you've confused the issue, Bob. (Not that I helped with my sidesteps off into Steinbeck and 'rabbit starvation' references). What Scheherazade is saying is that rabbits became more abundant and mammoths and other big game less so. The Neanderthals were good big game hunters, but could not adapt to rabbit hunting (according to her or the ideas she is passing on). Then marnixR points out that there is evidence (in Gilbraltar) that Neanderthals ate plenty of rabbits.

    I think NZ's rabbit troubles are immaterial because the trouble there was and is that rabbits are an invasive species with no place in the natural cycle. However, in Europe rabbits had a place in the scheme of things. They wouldn't have denuded Europe of greens and caused Neanderthal vitamin C deficiency.

    I was making another point entirely, myself, when I half-jokingly suggested the Neanderthals were undernourished because it is often said that a diet rich in rabbit meat can lead to serious malnutrition. Click on the link in my earlier post please.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    In NZ the rabbit has at times over populated to the point where every bit of vegetation is stripped bare, no food left for any other animal. Maybe the Neaderthals were forced into a vitamin C deficiency for they had no greens to eat due to the rabbits. Eating more rabbit meat would not be the answer.
    Looking into the scurvy aspect further
    Puzzle of Human Evolution Solved | The Dr. Rath Health Foundation
    Neanderthals fossils reveal obvious signs of scurvy: frequent fractures of bones and disrupt growth of teeth.
    Could this be real?
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Hadn't considered the possibility that maybe animal hides were used as clothing in spite of their tendency to rot. I mean, they're still good until they rot, right?

    So when the men aren't out hunting, they're huddling naked in a cave together around a fire. Then when they go out to hunt, they cut some hide off the last mammoth they've killed, and fashion clothing from it, and go out and kill another Mammoth.

    Furthermore, during the cold months, the outside air is a natural refrigerator, so if they leave their clothing outside the cave it will be refrigerated to help prevent it from rotting.
    And furthermore, that primitive dwelling containing the central fire-pit, where we burned peat, grass, dung, even bone, doubled as a smokehouse. Ventilation was allowed only to keep the fire going; any more would be a waste of heat. Discourages vermin too.


    About primitive clothing. People have mentioned bark, reed, hide, sinew stitching; all these are terribly abrasive to bare skin. And early H.sapiens were likely less hairy than modern humans, since body lice ("crabs" that live in body hair) are relatively new to us. I speculate that as people began to wear clothing, body hair became advantageous to reduce chafe from rough clothing. By this hypothesis, regional differences in body hair are explained by roughness of traditional clothing *not* climate.

    Our body lice, incidentally, came from gorilla lice. Perhaps neanderthals got them finally from Africa via the invading sapiens? I wonder if the lice could be a vector of some disease that no longer exists? In this scenario neanderthals get wiped out by very friendly contact.


    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1
    What is the evidence we hunted mammoths? Is that a truth or just a myth? There's a big difference in hunting rabbits and mammoths. You'd end up with so many injuries it wouldn't be worth it.
    Evidence that both neanderthals and sapiens ate and utilized mammoth is incontrovertible. Just how (or if) we hunted them is a bit speculative, and tends to dramatized combat between vigorous warriors and their enraged prey. However a sapiens child has devised a simple snare that should cripple the tip of a foraging mammoth's trunk, so that it can't feed, and must eventually fall from hunger and exhaustion. That way any old granny who can weave half a basket can also slay a mammoth; as a species we could decimate those animals all too easily.

    With mammoths gone, nothing's keeping the saplings down. Forests regrow. That lowers the winter albedo, and you get global warming.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 甘肃人 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    Interestingly, the rabbit may have been a contributing factor in the competition between Neanderthal and humans, for a number of reasons.
    "Neanderthals were large mammals hunters, par excellence," Fa said, but they "could have found it difficult to hunt the smaller, but superabundant, rabbit."
    Failure to Hunt Rabbits Part of Neanderthals' Demise?
    i'm sorry, that just doesn't ring true in the case of the Gibraltar neanderthals, whose diet was far more varied than what had been assumed so far - in this wikipedia article it is claimed that "In addition to large animals, they also ate very large quantities of small mammals and birds. 80% of the bones found in the caves are those of rabbits, which would have been abundant in the coastal sand dunes."
    In NZ the rabbit has at times over populated to the point where every bit of vegetation is stripped bare, no food left for any other animal. Maybe the Neaderthals were forced into a vitamin C deficiency for they had no greens to eat due to the rabbits. Eating more rabbit meat would not be the answer.
    I think you've confused the issue, Bob. (Not that I helped with my sidesteps off into Steinbeck and 'rabbit starvation' references). What Scheherazade is saying is that rabbits became more abundant and mammoths and other big game less so. The Neanderthals were good big game hunters, but could not adapt to rabbit hunting (according to her or the ideas she is passing on). Then marnixR points out that there is evidence (in Gilbraltar) that Neanderthals ate plenty of rabbits.

    I think NZ's rabbit troubles are immaterial because the trouble there was and is that rabbits are an invasive species with no place in the natural cycle. However, in Europe rabbits had a place in the scheme of things. They wouldn't have denuded Europe of greens and caused Neanderthal vitamin C deficiency.

    I was making another point entirely, myself, when I half-jokingly suggested the Neanderthals were undernourished because it is often said that a diet rich in rabbit meat can lead to serious malnutrition. Click on the link in my earlier post please.
    OK too much rabbit meat. Even if there were other predators, they might have been devastated by a virus so there was a imbalance between predator and prey and the prey animals exploded and rabbit plague drove other herbivores to move far away from the caves and it become too far for the Neanderthal to bring back the bacon.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Hadn't considered the possibility that maybe animal hides were used as clothing in spite of their tendency to rot. I mean, they're still good until they rot, right?

    So when the men aren't out hunting, they're huddling naked in a cave together around a fire. Then when they go out to hunt, they cut some hide off the last mammoth they've killed, and fashion clothing from it, and go out and kill another Mammoth.

    Furthermore, during the cold months, the outside air is a natural refrigerator, so if they leave their clothing outside the cave it will be refrigerated to help prevent it from rotting.
    And furthermore, that primitive dwelling containing the central fire-pit, where we burned peat, grass, dung, even bone, doubled as a smokehouse. Ventilation was allowed only to keep the fire going; any more would be a waste of heat. Discourages vermin too.


    About primitive clothing. People have mentioned bark, reed, hide, sinew stitching; all these are terribly abrasive to bare skin. And early H.sapiens were likely less hairy than modern humans, since body lice ("crabs" that live in body hair) are relatively new to us. I speculate that as people began to wear clothing, body hair became advantageous to reduce chafe from rough clothing. By this hypothesis, regional differences in body hair are explained by roughness of traditional clothing *not* climate.

    Our body lice, incidentally, came from gorilla lice. Perhaps neanderthals got them finally from Africa via the invading sapiens? I wonder if the lice could be a vector of some disease that no longer exists? In this scenario neanderthals get wiped out by very friendly contact.


    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1
    What is the evidence we hunted mammoths? Is that a truth or just a myth? There's a big difference in hunting rabbits and mammoths. You'd end up with so many injuries it wouldn't be worth it.
    Evidence that both neanderthals and sapiens ate and utilized mammoth is incontrovertible. Just how (or if) we hunted them is a bit speculative, and tends to dramatized combat between vigorous warriors and their enraged prey. However a sapiens child has devised a simple snare that should cripple the tip of a foraging mammoth's trunk, so that it can't feed, and must eventually fall from hunger and exhaustion. That way any old granny who can weave half a basket can also slay a mammoth; as a species we could decimate those animals all too easily.

    With mammoths gone, nothing's keeping the saplings down. Forests regrow. That lowers the winter albedo, and you get global warming.
    Eat the meat of a mammoth starved to death.. I can't imagine anything more unappetizing, sorry, I don't buy it. But really imaginative especially the bit about the first time the Homo species has caused global warming!
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    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    Interestingly, the rabbit may have been a contributing factor in the competition between Neanderthal and humans, for a number of reasons.
    "Neanderthals were large mammals hunters, par excellence," Fa said, but they "could have found it difficult to hunt the smaller, but superabundant, rabbit."
    Failure to Hunt Rabbits Part of Neanderthals' Demise?
    i'm sorry, that just doesn't ring true in the case of the Gibraltar neanderthals, whose diet was far more varied than what had been assumed so far - in this wikipedia article it is claimed that "In addition to large animals, they also ate very large quantities of small mammals and birds. 80% of the bones found in the caves are those of rabbits, which would have been abundant in the coastal sand dunes."
    It seems that this population of Neanderthals may have been the last of their kind and may well have been more adaptable than the northern Neanderthals.

    The following are quotes from your link.

    Gibraltar's Neanderthals may have been the last members of their species. They are thought to have died out around 24,000 years ago, at least 2,000 years after the extinction of the last Neanderthal populations elsewhere in Europe.
    The ultimate cause of the extinction of the Gibraltar Neanderthals is not known but was probably not due to competition with modern humans, who did not arrive in the area until about 18,000 years ago. Their population had probably been shrinking for millennia and the abrupt climate change may have stressed them beyond recovery, leaving them vulnerable to the effects of inbreeding and outbreaks of disease
    The article I cited is just one argument and not everyone agrees with the hypothesis. I did find it interesting and thought it relevant to this thread.
    Maybe they weren't more adaptable than the others, but were simply eating rabbits because that was all that was left.

    Neanderthals' bodies were bulkier than sapiens, and required a great deal more nutrition to sustain. While I don't doubt that Neanderthals could hunt rabbits (since clearly these Neanderthals had caught quite a few), I would be surprised if they were able to sustain themselves by doing so. It's just too small a pay off for too much effort/time. They would have been constantly teetering at the edge of starvation.

    These guys are built like NFL linebackers. They've got to eat!!!

    Sapiens, on the other hand, might have found the food supply to be just perfect.


    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    Eat the meat of a mammoth starved to death.. I can't imagine anything more unappetizing, sorry, I don't buy it. But really imaginative especially the bit about the first time the Homo species has caused global warming!
    I don't think he was suggesting that they would eat the mammoth meat. Just kill the mammoth as vermin.


    And that possibility also fits well with the smaller frames and smaller nutritional needs. Perhaps Sapiens was already adapted to subsisting off of smaller game, and didn't view the mammoths as a viable food source anyway.

    Modern humans aren't known for favoring elephant meat. (Although I believe some African tribes do occasionally hunt them.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    Interestingly, the rabbit may have been a contributing factor in the competition between Neanderthal and humans, for a number of reasons.
    "Neanderthals were large mammals hunters, par excellence," Fa said, but they "could have found it difficult to hunt the smaller, but superabundant, rabbit."
    Failure to Hunt Rabbits Part of Neanderthals' Demise?
    i'm sorry, that just doesn't ring true in the case of the Gibraltar neanderthals, whose diet was far more varied than what had been assumed so far - in this wikipedia article it is claimed that "In addition to large animals, they also ate very large quantities of small mammals and birds. 80% of the bones found in the caves are those of rabbits, which would have been abundant in the coastal sand dunes."
    It seems that this population of Neanderthals may have been the last of their kind and may well have been more adaptable than the northern Neanderthals.

    The following are quotes from your link.

    Gibraltar's Neanderthals may have been the last members of their species. They are thought to have died out around 24,000 years ago, at least 2,000 years after the extinction of the last Neanderthal populations elsewhere in Europe.
    The ultimate cause of the extinction of the Gibraltar Neanderthals is not known but was probably not due to competition with modern humans, who did not arrive in the area until about 18,000 years ago. Their population had probably been shrinking for millennia and the abrupt climate change may have stressed them beyond recovery, leaving them vulnerable to the effects of inbreeding and outbreaks of disease
    The article I cited is just one argument and not everyone agrees with the hypothesis. I did find it interesting and thought it relevant to this thread.
    Maybe they weren't more adaptable than the others, but were simply eating rabbits because that was all that was left.

    Neanderthals' bodies were bulkier than sapiens, and required a great deal more nutrition to sustain. While I don't doubt that Neanderthals could hunt rabbits (since clearly these Neanderthals had caught quite a few), I would be surprised if they were able to sustain themselves by doing so. It's just too small a pay off for too much effort/time. They would have been constantly teetering at the edge of starvation.

    These guys are built like NFL linebackers. They've got to eat!!!

    Sapiens, on the other hand, might have found the food supply to be just perfect.


    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    Eat the meat of a mammoth starved to death.. I can't imagine anything more unappetizing, sorry, I don't buy it. But really imaginative especially the bit about the first time the Homo species has caused global warming!
    I don't think he was suggesting that they would eat the mammoth meat. Just kill the mammoth as vermin.


    And that possibility also fits well with the smaller frames and smaller nutritional needs. Perhaps Sapiens was already adapted to subsisting off of smaller game, and didn't view the mammoths as a viable food source anyway.

    Modern humans aren't known for favoring elephant meat. (Although I believe some African tribes do occasionally hunt them.)
    Are you saying the Neanderthal risked life and limb to eradicate the mammoth vermin?
    They killed mammoth but were unlikely to eat them!
    No wonder they died out if that was the case. Each time they killed a mammoth they might have lost one able bodied Neanderthal, and another could die dragging it back to camp. No I don't like your ideas yet but the truth is I just don't know.
    Last edited by Robittybob1; September 29th, 2014 at 02:47 PM.
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    Tanning methods in the Pleistocene? I'm just listening to a YT on Mammoths and I've stopped at a bit where they have found a mammoth carcass with signs of human intervention. "The spine and the skull has been removed". Was that to get the brain and spinal chord tissue used in tanning skins? Weird that just those two parts have been removed.
    Well that is my guess, I'll update when I hear what they say about it. ... later ...
    Bones removed tusks removed but meat untouched, but they don't know when it was done.
    I wonder if that has been studied further since that documentary on the Woolly Mammoth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    Are you saying the Neanderthal risked life and limb to eradicate the mammoth vermin?
    They killed mammoth but were unlikely to eat them!
    No wonder they died out if that was the case. Each time they killed a mammoth they might have lost one able bodied Neanderthal, and another could die dragging it back to camp. No I don't like your ideas yet but the truth is I just don't know.
    Quite a lot of Neanderthal bones show signs of having healed after being fractured. Clearly they were doing battle against something that was capable of damaging their very robust bodies.

    http://eol.org/pages/4454114/details#Fractures

    The simplest explanation would be that they were hunting big game. That also aligns well with their nutritional needs, which were vast, and would give the best reward for their extremely bulky musculature. (Both during the hunt itself, and when the time comes to haul the meat back to the cave.)

    A creature that didn't have a really big appetite wouldn't get the full benefit out of a mammoth kill because the meat would rot before they could eat it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    Tanning methods in the Pleistocene? I'm just listening to a YT on Mammoths and I've stopped at a bit where they have found a mammoth carcass with signs of human intervention. "The spine and the skull has been removed". Was that to get the brain and spinal chord tissue used in tanning skins? Weird that just those two parts have been removed.
    Well that is my guess, I'll update when I hear what they say about it. ... later ...
    Bones removed tusks removed but meat untouched, but they don't know when it was done.
    I wonder if that has been studied further since that documentary on the Woolly Mammoth.
    Nice!!

    It also aligns well with the possibility that the Sapiens weren't using Mammoths as a meat source. They could have taken the bones from a long dead carcass.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    Eat the meat of a mammoth starved to death.. I can't imagine anything more unappetizing, sorry, I don't buy it.
    I don't think he was suggesting that they would eat the mammoth meat. Just kill the mammoth as vermin.
    I did mean to eat. Maiming an animal so it'll weaken and grow passive is a tactic employed by predators of much larger/stronger prey. Orcas do this to baleen whales: they nip at the tongue and lips, so the whale can't feed, then follow until the whale is so weak it offers no resistance. Wolves use similar tactics against much larger prey. It is just too dangerous to force a fight-to-the-death against a lively foe. But a few days of unrelenting agony and hounding can really grind an animal down.

    A mammoth cowed or collapsed from exhaustion, is still a feast and a half.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    ...Quite a lot of Neanderthal bones show signs of having healed after being fractured. Clearly they were doing battle against something that was capable of damaging their very robust bodies.

    http://eol.org/pages/4454114/details#Fractures

    The simplest explanation would be that they were hunting big game. That also aligns well with their nutritional needs, which were vast, and would give the best reward for their extremely bulky musculature. (Both during the hunt itself, and when the time comes to haul the meat back to the cave.)

    A creature that didn't have a really big appetite wouldn't get the full benefit out of a mammoth kill because the meat would rot before they could eat it.
    That article had this to say:
    Neanderthal fossils suggest that they must have endured a lot of pain. “When you look at adult Neanderthal fossils, particularly the bones of the arms and skull, you see [evidence of] fractures,” says Erik Trinkaus, an anthropologist at WashingtonUniversity in St. Louis. “I’ve yet to see an adult Neanderthal skeleton that doesn’t have at least one fracture, and in adults in their 30s, it’s common to see multiple healed fractures.” (That they suffered so many broken bones suggests they hunted large animals up close, probably stabbing prey with heavy spears—a risky tactic.) In addition, fossil evidence indicates that Neanderthals suffered from a wide range of ailments, including pneumonia and malnourishment. Still, they persevered, in some cases living to the ripe old age of 45 or so.


    Read more: History, Travel, Arts, Science, People, Places | Smithsonian
    You wouldn't need to tackle mammoths to get broken bones even deer and horses would deliver a kick hard enough to break bones. Wild pigs would knock you over if they felt cornered.
    Why I wanted to post was to point out that to get over a fracture there would need to be a period of rest, so they must have had a system for caring for the sick and dying. Is scurvy going to make the bones break easier? There could well be times when all the hunters were laid low with injury, who would feed the clan then?

    Is scurvy going to make the bones break easier? Yes maybe, if collagen is not being formed properly the bones will be weakened.
    Unfortunately I couldn't get a suitable reference regarding that.
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    On mammoth hunting.
    The idea they would kill and not eat is kinda ridiculous. A number of African tribes are known to kill and eat elephants, and eat their flesh with every sign of great enjoyment.

    Most predators though, and probably Neanderthals and early humans, select the weakest prey, probably mainly the very young. So they would selectively hunt baby mammoths, and avoid the big guys. Baby mammoth flesh would be more tender anyway.

    Eating brain and spine flesh also makes sense, since those tissues are very rich in fat. Surviving in a glacial period, when it is very cold, requires a good dietary intake of fat.

    Scurvey would be a possible hazard for any ape. Primates in general cannot manufacture vitamin C in their bodies and have to get it by diet. They can get their vitamin C from fruits or vegetables, or else through eating the flesh of carnivores. Carnivores, because they do not eat fruits and vegetables, have to have the ability to synthesize vitamin C in their own bodies, and their flesh is rich in vitamin C. Natives of ice bound northern climes (like Inuits and Aleuts) eat seals, which are carnivores, and thus have vitamin C in their flesh. In glacial Europe, there might have been wolf or bear flesh for vitamin C.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    On mammoth hunting.
    The idea they would kill and not eat is kinda ridiculous. A number of African tribes are known to kill and eat elephants, and eat their flesh with every sign of great enjoyment.

    Most predators though, and probably Neanderthals and early humans, select the weakest prey, probably mainly the very young. So they would selectively hunt baby mammoths, and avoid the big guys. Baby mammoth flesh would be more tender anyway.

    Eating brain and spine flesh also makes sense, since those tissues are very rich in fat. Surviving in a glacial period, when it is very cold, requires a good dietary intake of fat.

    Scurvy would be a possible hazard for any ape. Primates in general cannot manufacture vitamin C in their bodies and have to get it by diet. They can get their vitamin C from fruits or vegetables, or else through eating the flesh of carnivores. Carnivores, because they do not eat fruits and vegetables, have to have the ability to synthesize vitamin C in their own bodies, and their flesh is rich in vitamin C. Natives of ice bound northern climes (like Inuits and Aleuts) eat seals, which are carnivores, and thus have vitamin C in their flesh. In glacial Europe, there might have been wolf or bear flesh for vitamin C.
    When I discussed boning out the backbone of a mammoth with the butchers they were surprised. Have you ever tried to remove the back bone of an animal? There are multiple connections with the ribs, and each end of the spine is difficult to separate (pelvis and the head end), and this is all was done with stone knives! There must be more to it than just the meat or the fat. How would you cook it?
    About vitamin C itself I knew it was "destroyed by cooking", OK it is reduced by 60% by cooking. Are you thinking humans ate the livers fresh?
    If they did eat raw dog meat no wonder they died out for that would be quite risky from a disease point of view. (I'd have to consider what they could catch.)

    Quote Originally Posted by wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_C
    Vitamin C chemically decomposes under certain conditions, many of which may occur during the cooking of food. Vitamin C concentrations in various food substances decrease with time in proportion to the temperature they are stored at[125] and cooking can reduce the Vitamin C content of vegetables by around 60% possibly partly due to increased enzymatic destruction as it may be more significant at sub-boiling temperatures.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    On mammoth hunting.
    The idea they would kill and not eat is kinda ridiculous. A number of African tribes are known to kill and eat elephants, and eat their flesh with every sign of great enjoyment.

    Most predators though, and probably Neanderthals and early humans, select the weakest prey, probably mainly the very young. So they would selectively hunt baby mammoths, and avoid the big guys. Baby mammoth flesh would be more tender anyway.

    Eating brain and spine flesh also makes sense, since those tissues are very rich in fat. Surviving in a glacial period, when it is very cold, requires a good dietary intake of fat.

    Scurvey would be a possible hazard for any ape. Primates in general cannot manufacture vitamin C in their bodies and have to get it by diet. They can get their vitamin C from fruits or vegetables, or else through eating the flesh of carnivores. Carnivores, because they do not eat fruits and vegetables, have to have the ability to synthesize vitamin C in their own bodies, and their flesh is rich in vitamin C. Natives of ice bound northern climes (like Inuits and Aleuts) eat seals, which are carnivores, and thus have vitamin C in their flesh. In glacial Europe, there might have been wolf or bear flesh for vitamin C.
    One of the biggest issues with this discussion is that people are applying their personal tastes to what they would or would not eat.

    Much of the meat could very well have been eaten raw, the blood consumed raw. If you look at the Inuit, for example, they often eat their catches raw. And sometimes, they let the whole carcass of what they have hunted ferment in the fat and blubber before they eat it.

    Unlike the Inuit, however, Neanderthals apparently ate a varied diet, including nuts, berries and even vegetables.

    Ancient human cousins of our own species, Neanderthals disappeared from Europe some 30,000 years ago, around the time that modern humans arrived there. Long seen as strict carnivores, they hunted mammoth and reindeer, as evidenced by bones left at their campsites. (Related: "Last of the Neanderthals.")


    However, Neanderthal fecal samples reported in the journal PLOS ONE on Wednesday suggest that they also ate plenty of berries, nuts, and other vegetables.


    The oldest poop samples turned up at the site of El Salt, a collection of ancient hearths in southern Spain. The researchers were originally investigating the fire pits for chemical traces of fats from cooked meats. Amid the search, they unexpectedly found some fossil feces, or coprolites, in a top hearth layer dated to 50,000 years ago.


    "I was quite surprised we found these samples in a place where they would eat," says MIT geoarchaeologist Ainara Sistiaga, who led the study. "We think they were deposited after they stopped using the fire pit."


    ****************



    For clues to the Neanderthal diet, lab samples of the feces were pulverized and examined for spectroscopic identification of their chemistry. In particular, the researchers looked for compounds created when bacteria aid digestion of meat and vegetables. (Related: "Hot Stew in the Ice Age?")


    The results identified four fats associated with meat. But two cholesterol-related compounds that are an unambiguous fingerprint of plants also turned up.


    "They were eating a lot of meat," Sistiaga says. "But we believe they were omnivorous."


    Although the chemistry analysis cannot specify which plant foods Neanderthals were eating, pollen analysis suggests that berries, nuts, and tubers grew in the region when the archaic humans lived in Spain. (Related: "Bonanza of Skulls in 'Pit of Bones' Changes View of Neanderthals.")


    Mammoth, reindeer, and red deer bones widely found at Neanderthal sites had led paleontologists to see them as dedicated meat eaters. But more recent studies that uncovered plant remains at Neanderthal sites, on their tools, and even in their dental plaque had hinted that they were not strict carnivores.


    The present study is the first to provide direct chemical analysis that Neanderthals ate vegetables—the most interesting part of the study, says paleontologist Erik Trinkaus of Washington University in St. Louis, who was not part of the research.

    More evidence is needed to confirm this, but it certainly looks as if they did consume plant based foods as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robittybob1 View Post
    to get over a fracture there would need to be a period of rest, so they must have had a system for caring for the sick and dying.
    That's an excellent point. Very.

    Related evidence in how H. neanderthalensis felt about their dead, vs. sapiens sentiment of the time. Curiously it's the neanderthals who laid out their dead with apparent tenderness, burying the unmolested body with flowers or items. Contemporary H. sapiens in contrast seem to have disposed of corpses as garbage, and often cannibalized them first. There is a possible explanation to excuse this behaviour: that while neanderthals believed the "person" and the body were one and the same; sapiens believed the "person" was something apart from the physical world... i.e. that a living body was occupied by a spirit, that departed when the body died. The neanderthal brain is shaped for literal, physical intelligence; the sapiens brain is shaped for abstract notions.

    What do modern humans believe? Is that decomposing corpse simply granpa in very sorry condition, or is grandpa somewhere else at that point?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong View Post
    ....What do modern humans believe? Is that decomposing corpse simply granpa in very sorry condition, or is grandpa somewhere else at that point?
    That might depend on the level of Neanderthal genes you have ended up with. It was something like 4% on average wasn't it. Can that vary across human individuals. I might have a touch more Neanderthal. I have a large brain like they did, and my throwing skills aren't that great.
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