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July 19, 2007

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On Ancient Hunters

The fellow hunter I would most like to meet is one that vanished from the earth about 28,000 years ago, for reasons we do not yet understand, after surviving more than 100,000 years of cold that few people on this planet can imagine. A typical man of his species stood about 5 feet 5 inches tall, and in good health would weigh between 185 and 210 pounds. He would be, according to a paleontologist with whom I once spoke, three times as strong as a modern man in excellent shape. "He could take any player in the NFL and throw him over the goalpost."

042_22theneanderthalpostersYet for all this strength, this ancient hunter would be an old man at 30, and apparently none of his race lived to see 40. He spent every day of his life in mortal danger, and would almost certainly be badly hurt at least once. If he survived animal and human violence, he would starve, or freeze, or simply wear out.

His brain was bigger than ours, but possibly organized in a different fashion. He probably had language, but we're not entirely sure about that. His hunting weapon was the spear, and it probably required that he close with whatever he was trying to kill. He did not look much like we do. His forehead was low, jaw massive, and nose large and protruding. He was not our ancestor, but our cousin. We killed him, either by accident or design or both, hounding him off the end of Europe and into extinction.

He is, of course, Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, and if I should happen to meet him in the next world I would extend him my hand as a fellow hunter. Except he would crush it.

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Comments

Steve C

As far as Mr. Neanderthal is concerned, it’s likely that our imagination would be his greatest asset. There are some pretty tough little hombres living on the Amazon that would give him a run for his money.

As far as paleontologists are concerned, they’re guessing about Mr. Neanderthal’s strength or prowess with throwing people over goal posts. Evolutionary theory has been under successful assault ever since Darwin came forward 150 years ago. Imagine what we’ll discover next 150 years.

Gay Bob

I must admit that Senator Robert Byrd is one of the world's most entertaining human beings. He is truly a national treasure, and by God, he ought to have his own God-damned CABLE CHANNEL!!!!!

Matt

Sure wouldn't mind having one has a hunting buddy. He would sure come in handy if you ever have to tote an elk quarter up and down a few mountains!

Big Ed

Dave,

Wow, what a topic! When it comes to H. sapiens Neanderthal (if you hold with that classification), there's a heck of a lot of theories about his hunting skills. However, when it came to really DOING a wooly mammoth, I whimsically suspect that H.sN would have immediatly given up his spear for a Remington 700 in .375 H&H ...with solids.

If you have an interest, I'd like to suggest (to all readers) a (out of print) book: Bjorn Kurten's "Dance of the Tiger". Kurten was an excellent paleontologist AND writer. A book of fiction, Kurten lists the sources of all of his assumptions. Guaranteed, it'll make you think. And if you have an intrest in geology (God help you, if you do-and no pun intended.), Kurten's "Pleistocene Mammels of North America" will keep you entranced for hours. Pardon the plug.

John

I'd sleep with their women given 1/2 a chance. Lolololol

Galen Burgett

Actually, Dave is right about the Neanderthal mans' strength. No guesses at all. The musculature has been reconstronstructed using the latest medical and forensic methods and they were indeed powerfully built. The reconstructions were done from the Neanderthal skeletons discovered over the decades by archaeologists. The Neanderthal people were adapted to a life of constant and strenuous activity. Keeping the great cave bears out of your favorite cave took some doing. Just a small correction though, paleontologists don't do people, archaeologists and paleoanthropologists do. No need to drag poor old Darwin into this. The evidence is plentiful, it is real, and it is reliable.

Richard

There was an engraving at Yellow Stone Nat. Park that spoke to this nicely. All I can do now is paraphrase it (my apologizes to the author).

They walked this planet with skills and sense’s that we have long ago lost. They survived in and through things that we had no concept of. Their strength, both mental and physical must have been strong and secure. There contribution to our future is immeasurable.

I have studied and made, throwing sticks, spears, bows & arrows and the atlatl. If you spend any amount of time in the deep wood, you should be familiar with all of these.

I too would like to sit down with one of these fellows (and many, many others) and discuss life when I get to the great hunt at the end of this life.

Peace be with all of you.

Richard

Blue Ox

Them guys in the picture look like my dad and his brothers....

PbHead

One of my highschool football coachs was a true Neanderthal type and he treated us like his prey. I still miss him.

Loel

I think you've watched too many GIECO commericals

Michael

Dave,
Any comments on their weapons of choice? Were their spear shafts of circassian walnut? Did they argue about the benefits of heavier spear points (deeper penetration) vs lighter faster points for maximum energy? Or, did they simply make maximum use of the only weapon they had? From looking at the illustration, I see a strong resemblance to some of my former in-laws.

Rico

Dave,

Love your blog, but I think you've effectively stepped off the deep end here.

Pining for the "good old days" is evidently not "good" enough anymore.

Fascinating, yes. Better? In no way. Humans no longer have the strength or skills of their ancient relatives because we've moved beyond their need. Hydraulics - yup, stronger than a neanderthal. Internal combustion engine powered vehicle - yup, faster than a neanderthal. Firearm - yup, more effective than a spear.

Remember when is the lowest form of conversation.

Tommy D

I wonder what "deer camp" smelled like with these guys?

Matt Mallery

I'm a professional Archaeologist and would like to make a few points here.

Many are confused about the difference between paleontologists, anthropologists, and archaeologists. Anthropology translates to "the study of man". Archaeology is a subfield of anthro. Archaeology focuses on the material culture of people of the past. That is to say, people's old junk and old homes. Paleontologists focus on prehistoric life, mostly the animal and plant kind. There is some overlap, hence we have paleoanthropologists. But archaeologists don't dig up dinosaurs, we dig up people. As far as mammoths go, if it has a spearpoint lodged in it's bone, archaeologists are interested. If it did of natural causes and there is no evidence humans were involved, we leave it to the paleontologists. Sorry to ramble, but much of the public (not necessarily F and S readers) are really confused about this.

As far as what happened to the neanderthals. There are several theories. Homo Sapien Sapien (that would be us)appears to have had a more broad diet. Neanderthals appear to have been mostly meat eaters, while we utilized meat and many plant resources as well. Thus our species was better able to adapt and propogate to a wider variety of climates. When meat was scarce, we ate while they went hungry. That's one theory. Did we wipe them out through warfare? Not much evidence to support this. Did we biologically assimilate them? Are we all part neanderthal? Some evidence but not enough for a definate yes.

Danny Boy

ooOOOUUUUuughh.
Me neanderthal guy.
Huntem' up mammoth.
YuUUUUmmy!
But dat woooly guy kilt off my whole fam damily; none left but me.
UUUUuuuughh-aaaaah. Sex with modern wife much better anyhow.

Buddy

Do men really pay money to watch someone just jerk themselves off? I might video myself next time and put it on my website for money - I shall call it pay per pull.

hetro-madness

Large hot dogs might not be a good idea.Rise and fall and then recovery of male porn star in late 1970's through the video revolution. Dabbling in drugs, music, indiscriminate shooting, jerking off for $10.
Completely realistic in a world of sex everywhere. It resembles a George Michael video in many ways but it goes on for over two hours.


Buddy Hinton

You don't need no God-damned gun to enjoy the outdoors. What's eating you damned fools, anyway? Do you think the God-damned deer are gunning for you? Are the squirrels sniping at you?

Perhaps they ought to be, but they are NOT.

Bad Boy Toy

It was on this day in 1875 that the largest recorded swarm of locusts in American history descended upon the Great Plains. It was a swarm about 1,800 miles long, 110 miles wide, (THAT NEVER FARTED, POOPED, PEE'D, OR ATE ANYTHING)from Canada down to Texas. North America was home to the most numerous species of locust on earth, the Rocky Mountain locust. At the height of their population, their total mass was equivalent to the 60 million bison (WHO NEVER FARTED, POOPED, PEE'D, OR ATE ANYTHING) that had inhabited the West. The Rocky Mountain locust is believed to have been the most common macroscopic creature of any kind ever to inhabit the planet... SEE? NOW DO YOU SEE? BUSH HAS RUINED EVERYTHING!! FOOLS!!!!

Black Rifle addict

These Nee-an-der-dals look like my beer drinkin` buddies at the Pub?

NATASHA EVIL-GOAT

HITLER IS JUST SPLENDID, AND BLONDIE IS AS ATTRACTIVE AS EVER!! SEIG HEIL! OH, HE IS SO HOT! HOT HOT HOT! GNRRRGH! AFTER ALL THESE YEARS OF DILIGENT EFFORT, I HAVE FINALLY MADE CONTACT WITH THE CURATOR IN CHARGE OF THE FUHERER'S REMAINS THROUGH A MEMBER OF PUTIN'S STAFF... AND SUFFICIENT GENETIC MATERIAL HAS BEEN OBTAINED!! CLONING WILL BEGIN IMMEDIATELY, AND WE BELIEVE WE ALSO HAVE ENOUGH MATERIAL THAT MAY BE FROM BLONDIE TO PROCEED TO CLONE HER, ALSO! HURRAH! WHAT A WONDERFUL REUNION WE WIL HAVE! IDENTIFICATION OF THE HITLER MATERIAL IS CERTAIN, AND ALL MEDICAL OBSTACLES ARE NOW OVERCOME!! !! SEIG HEIL!!! WHEN WE HAVE ACTUALIZED OUR BELOVED FUHRER ONCE MORE, I INTEND TO MARRY HIM! I WILL NOT BE DENIED! SEIG HEIL! IT WILL BE THE MOST EXTRAVAGANT CEREMONY EVER HELD!!! WE WILL BE TAKING OVER CHIPPENDALE'S FOR AT LEAST A WEEK, AND EVERYONE IS INVITED!!!!!* ALL HAIL THE RISE OF THE FOURTH REICH!!! HUZZAH!

MUDBRAIN

OH, PISH! LET US CROWN MICHAEL JACKSON CORN KING.HMMM.. STILL DEAD I SEE....

HARRY'S JOINED THE TANKERS, AS I SUPPOSED HE WOULD... ONE CANNOT BUT FEEL JUST A BIT SORRY FOR HER MAJESTY, THE DEAR OLD THING... TUT... AT LEAST HITLER CALLED HIS OWN SHOTS, AS IT WERE... .

It would not be sexual... it would be pretty... Think pink. Think pretty. Think anorexic whitegurl with a truly lousy plastic surgeon, if you must...hep me Jesus! Hep me Lord!

Trae B.

good blog im very intrested in old weapons just today my knife handle broke so i carved a wooden handle out of a cherry tree i cut downin the woods and fixed the blade to the hadle better than new

Dr. Ralph

Trae if you had just made the new handle out of Neanderthal sh*t your knife would be worth $3,600.00!!! Everyone is puzzled about the disappearance of the Neanderthal, and how it's much smaller and weaker cousin (us)survived. Tool kits dated to 28,000 BC show we had a much more expanded arsenal than the simple spear the Neanderthal employed. High tech cavemen R' us... Smaller men with better weapons will win every time. Now what about those anorexic whitegurls with lousy plastic surgeons? MUDBRAIN you must know my wife.

wh

http://cogweb.ucla.edu/ep/NeanderthalParadigm.html

This has some of the most interesting info I have seen. How tested and true I don't know but Giest is world leader in such things.




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