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    Neanderthal Intelligence Redux
    By News Staff | May 19th 2009 01:00 AM | 6 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    Neanderthals/neandertals, popularly regarded as the 'stupid' cousins of modern humans, were actually capable of capturing the most impressive animals - and that takes some sense.   Dutch researcher Gerrit Dusseldorp analyzed their daily forays for food to gain insights into the complex behavior of the Neanderthal. His analysis revealed that the hunting was very knowledge intensive. 

    Although it is now clear that Neanderthals were hunters and not scavengers, their exact hunting methods are still something of a mystery. Dusseldorp investigated just how sophisticated the Neanderthals' hunting methods really were. His analysis of two archaeological sites revealed that Neanderthals in warm forested areas preferred to hunt solitary game but that in colder, less forested areas they preferred to hunt more difficult herding animals. 

    The Neanderthals were not easily intimated by their game. Rhinoceroses, bisons and even predators such as the brown bear were all on their menu. Dusseldorp established that just as for modern humans, the environment and the availability of food determined the choice of prey and the hunting method adopted. If the circumstances allowed it, Neanderthals lived in large groups and even the most attractive and difficult to catch prey were within their reach. 

    Coordination and communication

    Although herding animals are difficult to surprise and isolate, many such game lived on the open steppes. This ready supply attracted large groups of Neanderthals. That the Neanderthals were capable of hunting down such elusive game demonstrates that they had good coordination skills and could communicate well with each other. 

    Each prey has a specific cost-benefit scenario. For example, game that are more difficult to catch yield more calories and have a more usable, thick fleece. Dusseldorp used these data to examine the Neanderthal's preferences. He also analyzed the prey of hyenas in the same manner. Hyenas were important competitors of Neanderthals as they had a similar dietary pattern. 

    Dusseldorp demonstrated that Neanderthals, thanks to their intelligence, even surpassed hyenas at capturing the strongest game. All things being considered, the Neanderthals were skilled and highly intelligent hunters. So the idea that Neanderthals were brute musclemen can be dismissed. 

    This study was part of NWO project "Thoughtful Hunters? The Archaeology of Neandertal Communication and Cognition." Dusseldorp is continuing his research with a postdoc position in Johannesburg where he will focus on the modern humans that evolved in Africa.

    Comments

    The Neanderthals of old, likened to the American of today! Great hulking and powerful, smart but bred limited to Capitalist purposes these last two centuries, but still, large, high calorie beasts of great expectation, and entitlement, spoiled by the "Smoke Stack Era" and the "Great Agricultural Age" of America. Now, overtaken by little yellow 89 pound weakling Chinese women and similarly slight men, eating mostly rice and veggies, little meat if any, and small, fast, economically cheap; to maintain, feed, cloth, entertain, and even easier to even cremate in the end! These smaller folk educate well, have produced this year as others, more Post graduates with IQ's of 130+, in dorms, no luxurious sports cars, football stadiums, "Sports Star Worship", on rice and veggie diets, not oil dependent, corn, force fed to prime rib - Multi-lingual, multi-disciplined, mostly Mandarin / English speaking, than American Neanderthals have high school students, drop-outs included, unilingual, science failures, football star mentalities, 32nd rated schooling in the world at any rate, and xenophobic hegimonists every damned one of them! This is corporatism's monument to America? The Neanderthals of America, sad their fate, but written on the walls of time! Unemployable in the modern computer driven age, and breeding like rabbits and cats in American streets and lane ways, doped and drunken and broke in will, as we speak! Who will feed them, cloth them, cater to their follies? Certainly not the new breed of Asian Capitalist complete with American Capital's spoils transferred to the Beijing, Shanghai, and Hang Seng markets, recently! Dealing outside American jurisdiction, stealing patents, copying European and American trademarks, copyrights, technologies, with impunity, and stomping the American economy to death, right before hungry, frightened and deserted Neanderthal eyes! Is this History repeating itself? Is America doomed by its own greater successes in the past? Warped and crippled by blood, culture, free, random, unplanned, uncontrolled, breeding? Has America been bypassed by a superior being, a new form of mankind? Does India also pose a threat to American Neaderthalisms? Is this the end of the “Great Hairy American marauder” on earth? In his movies? Have we met our nemesis? Is America failing due to obsessively opportunistic breeding? Have we bred out our little, smart, fast, people, of a day gone by, in cruel disregard for their humanity? Are we about to pay dearly for that error? You bet your fat ass, Yankee Doodle Football hero! You bet your big, soft, fat, overfed, over cushioned ass!

    Hank
    You're at the wrong science site.   This is actually about science.   It's an easy mistake, far too many science sites are thinly veiled, agenda-driven propaganda machines.   But this one is science.   So do you have anything at all to discuss about the science in this beyond some crazy-guy-on-the-corner rant about how eeeeeeevil America is?   If not, I can recommend a few science sites where your comment will get a better response.
    so what you are really saying is that you are a racist right?

    Was paralleling historic fact with modern-day occurrences unscientific in any way? I apologize! My intention was to draw attention to History, and a repetition on a much smaller, shorter, scale of one of nature's common patterns, the better to understand the plight of the original Neanderthal, the pressures on him. We only postulate the circumstance of this great cumbersome beast, fore-runner of modern man, even showing, in his artwork his perhaps greater compassion for life, for his fellows, a more of less communal chap, his care for his dead, his females, his children. We have to admit, the average American, bred larger than all other men in the world, bears resemblances, gives verifiable confirmation beyond the Creationists realms of natures ways.. Forgive me, I see a similar battle playing out between the continents today, giving immense credibility to all Science has exposed of our ancestors, lending truth to the speculation, and firming up basic realities of the world and mankind.

    Hank
    We have to admit, the average American, bred larger than all other men in the world, 
    The Dutch are, on average, the largest people in the world.   In both genders.
    Please don't let the good pure Science of your page be censored by current social etiquettes, conventions, and politenesses. The Great Churches in past held mankind from the truth , put "blinkers" on his inquiring mind, and even restrictions on his thoughts! If James Watt's Mom kept her son away from the stove, we would have no steam engines - no British Industrial Revolution? The fact remains: In the last two hundred years an anomaly has developed! A larger, very high maintenance, single-minded, technologically based sub-group of humans has evolved in America! Never before has this occurred, we have not found the bones! This happened in a very short time, 200 years! The pressure is certainly on this great lovable beast for his very survival today, and he really does depend heavily on 80% of the worlds resources, every day, just to continue to the next day! I know! I'm one of them! My father was a proud 5"1' 145 pound man! I am 5'9" a hefty 230 pounds, strong as an ox, and much better educated, but could never survive on the garden plot and single Jersey cow in the country-side my Grandparents called home. Three generations! Grandpa was an even smaller, scrawny little guy from what I can glean from Uncles, Aunts and old black and white photos. Fact is, we have been astoundingly altered, influenced deeply by capitalism, corporatism, and Science, and are very inter-dependent, further from sustainability than our very recent ancestors, and an Anomaly for all mankind. This is not scientific in any way, just a perhaps scewed observation, but by an inquiring mind, likely less influenced by popular censorships than is comfortable in this day and age, these economic circumstances!