I’ve been thinking about H. sapiens and H. Neanderthalensis as predator types who both had to contend with the local competition, whether in Africa, Eurasia, or the far north. This video on Yellowstone demonstrates competition between grizzlies, wolves, coyote, and carnivorous birds. For each type, it’s not “either or” scavenger, hunter or opportunist: it’s all opportunistic, actually, whether hunting to kill, hunting to drive off a competitor from a kill, or grabbing whatever part or leftover can be had. Prey animals such as bison and elk are not passive victims; predators and prey are making instaneous ongoing assessments of risk and reward; of flexible strategies that utilize environmental topography, water, snow, plant type and distribution, forested areas and seasonal change.
It’s tempting to try to place H. sapiens and H. Neanderthalensis into similar environments. Bear versus wolf is an interesting comparison: bears possess individual size, strength and speed and compete with each other. Wolves hunt singly, in pairs and in packs, with size of prey a major factor. Picking off the young, injured and old is a major theme, as well as stealing carcasses and eating rotten carcasses, for both wolves and bears; bears hibernate in winter leaving excellent opportunity for wolves to thrive. Bears and wolves otherwise compete directly for food.
As much or more time and energy is spent harassing and exhausting opponents and prey – our concept of swift kills is usually all wrong. Endurance, persistence, luck and knowing when to quit, are vital knowledge learned from adults and by daily experience. Successful hunting occurs in stages, more like boxing rounds, than swift kills as seen in predatory birds.
While thinking about all this, I watched the following video, because the idea of Neanderthal as an apex predator is currently favored; if so, would its behavior be more like big cats, in which sheer mass, size, ambush, stealth and short bursts of speed overwhelm prey, or the behavior of wolves? Persistent wearing down of an isolated target, tactical wounding, stress from the chase and mobbing, with ultimate death by exhaustion the goal? Of course, the advent of projectiles radically changed all this.
I have no opinion overall of the video’s presentation as accurate, but appreciate many points that xxx brings up; especially the massive muscular body of Neanderthal. I object to the inky black skin, head position, red eyes and chimp-gorilla face as unnecessarily extreme. Body hair – very possible. I do believe that our “obsession with monsters” is a phantom of the collective memory in Homo sapiens, as are fears of snakes, spiders, and the irrational hatred of wolves – I have suggested that some types of “giants” in myths could be a memory of Neanderthal overlap with Homo sapiens; even the models for early “gods”.
I think the notion that we must “re-orient” our analysis to predatory behavior in both H. neanderthal and H. sapiens, in competition with other top predators, in various environments, is the point here.
Two myths need to be challenged: that injuries in Neanderthals were like those of contemporary rodeo athletes (they are not, and in fact are no different than those found in AMH, who were their contemporaries) and that ARCHAIC AMH were “just like us” both physically and mentally. ARCHAIC AMH were more similar to Neanderthal, than to Modern Social Humans (neurotypicals). It is nearly impossible to identify many archaic fossil skulls as definitely H. sapiens or H. neanderthaliensis.
The Them and Us Theory is no more fanciful that most “official narratives” that downplay the wildness of Archaic AMH, both in appearance and behavior – for me, what the Them and Us Theory points to, and misses entirely, is that,
Modern Social Humans are the “oddity”.
That modern social humans are JUVENALIZED AND DOMESTICATED in relation to both H. Neanderthal and Archaic H. sapiens.
The present-day “modern human skull” is an “infantile” skull.