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Human evolution: Neanderthals had expensive tastes

From “Fish and birds gave Neanderthals fine dining” (New Scientist October 29, 2011), we learn:

THEY may have been partial to a chunky slab of meat, but very early on Neanderthals also had a taste for fine dining treats like fish and small birds. The findings show that our long-lost cousins were cognitively advanced from the get-go, long before modern humans appeared in Europe.

Discoveries of jewellery and make-up at 50,000-year-old sites show that around the time they went extinct Neanderthals had a taste for the finer things in life. Now that evidence has been pushed back to their first appearance in Europe.

Look, we KNEW this. You think those Neanderthal baggages were relying on their native charms when they went after our men? Look at them. It is to laugh. They probably stole all that stuff. Like they stole the men. Men are just so :lol: dumb.

No, but seriously, of course Neanderthals would mainly eat fish and small birds for protein. Large game are difficult and dangerous to bring down, and require many days of work afterward preserving the meat – assuming one even knows how to do it – and tanning the hides. It’s worthwhile, in the long run, but probably was not the main day-to-day source of food.

Teaching a boy to use a slingshot would be wiser and safer for daily life. Any Aboriginal Canadian who hunted buffalo now and then could have told us that.

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8 Responses to Human evolution: Neanderthals had expensive tastes

  1. Another case of the ‘reporter’ not comprehending what is being reported on.

    No, but seriously, of course Neanderthals would mainly eat fish and small birds for protein. Large game are difficult and dangerous to bring down, and require many days of work afterward preserving the meat – assuming one even knows how to do it – and tanning the hides. It’s worthwhile, in the long run, but probably was not the main day-to-day source of food.

    No, not “of course”. The article states that this new finding….

    …goes against the view, still held by some, that Neanderthals hunted large game but were not capable of subtler tasks like spearing fish and catching birds.

  2. Is this the part where you explain how the wrong theory deserved to be right more than the right theory? I’m sure it was terribly nuanced.

  3. Fossfur, the “some” who thought that were clearly wrong and weren’t thinking it out carefully. It doesn’t take a great deal of intelligence to choose small game over large if the former are more easily caught. It’s not clear that sophisticated methods are usually needed. Birds must be snared, but eggs needn’t be. Absent laws against it, one can dam a stream with boulders, to catch fish.

  4. Fossfur, the “some” who thought that were clearly wrong and weren’t thinking it out carefully.

    Well it’s a good job we have your own palaeontological expertise to set the scientists straight then.

    It doesn’t take a great deal of intelligence to choose small game over large if the former are more easily caught. It’s not clear that sophisticated methods are usually needed. Birds must be snared, but eggs needn’t be. Absent laws against it, one can dam a stream with boulders, to catch fish.

    Just because you don’t think that fishing requires much intelligence is not a reason to assert, without evidence, that Neanderthals must have been intelligent enough to do it.

    It is precisely the intelligence of these Neanderthals that is under scrutiny. We don’t know just how intelligent these hominids were. And so it’s only when scientists find actual evidence (e.g. fish scales) that they can assert that Neanderthals were indeed intelligent enough to fish for food.

  5. Fossfur, even cats can fish. Also gather nests and nestlings. Were Neanderthals not as intelligent as cats? It seems reasonable to assume that they were.

    The cat likes pawing things. If he hooks a fish through the gills and lands it, he is a fisher cat for life. How hard would it be for any type of human to watch animals fish and see that their methods can be adapted? Many methods are not used today because they are illegal, not because they are ineffective. Quite the opposite.

    Another method of killing a fish, once you spot it, is to feed it worms until it dies. (It may be too stupid to stop eating.)

    For that matter – it must be said – many animals can be frightened into dropping their prey …

  6. You’re missing the point.

    There are plenty of land-lubber species that we would expect have more than enough intelligence to catch fish and yet they don’t. For whatever reason fish just isn’t part of their diet.

    So if scientists are going to build an accurate picture of the Neanderthal they need solid evidence before they can reliably ascribe certain behaviours to them. It is not enough to surmise that just because cats (for instance) can catch fish that Neanderthals did in fact fish.

  7. Fossfur: “It is precisely the intelligence of these Neanderthals that is under scrutiny. We don’t know just how intelligent these hominids were.”

    Fossfur: “You’re missing the point. There are plenty of land-lubber species that we would expect have more than enough intelligence to catch fish and yet they don’t.”

    Why don’t you just sort it first. It just makes you look disagreeable.

  8. Fossfur: “Well it’s a good job we have your own palaeontological expertise to set the scientists straight then.”

    Fossfur, let’s say an IT expert comes up with a theory about why a computer won’t turn on. It’s very nuanced and draws in observations of all different types of components and takes account of past observations of similar machines and statistics about what caused similar situations to arise in the past. Then you come along and realize it wasn’t plugged in. Should the IT expert snidely thank you for your IT expertise or should he realize that he got off track originally by ignoring the obvious?

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