Neanderthal and a new way of life

The prehistory of Neanderthal and Cro Magnon man is one of conflict.  Neanderthal man entered Europe 52 000 years ago but was chased out by Cro Magnon man; he was either killed off or left 33 000 years ago.  This has been presented as a superior species of mankind getting rid of an inferior, unevolved species of mankind.  Since the 19th century Neanderthal has been portrayed as an incapable brute unable to figure out what to do.

The truth, I believe, is very far from this.  Did this ‘half-evolved brute’ stoop because his ape ancestors caused him to be unable to walk upright like a man?  No, not at all.  Neanderthal spent a lot of time squatting which caused his hip joints to face a certain way, and he did all this squatting because he spent a lot of time in a canoe squatting.

Neanderthal’s arms were long because he used them for paddling as his dominant form of locomotion.  His stocky body was barrel-shaped, rather than having a flat rib cage.  The wide female pelvis allowed for a brain size above the modern average – it ranged from 1250 to 1750 cc.

Neanderthal had thick skull bones and a low forehead with separate brow ridges, especially in the male.  His nose was large with a prominent bridge to the nose.

The stone industry of Homo neanderthalensis was the Middle Palaeolithic Mousterian stone industry.  This industry comprises a lot of well-made flint spearheads.  It dates from 100 000 years ago in Central Asia and Eastern Europe.

Neanderthal was a large game hunter using spears, as well as a shellfish eater.  He left mounds of shells at the sites he occupied on the coast.

I see Neanderthal as a bronze-skinned type with dark hair in a birch bark canoe.  He was adapted to the cold.

Neanderthal came to Israel from the Black Sea 60 000 years ago and moved on to hunt Ice Age fauna in Europe.  (He should have a different name as his origin was not the valley of this name in Germany).  In the Levant region Neanderthal encountered Homo sapiens and left some genes among the Homo sapiens population – probably from the capturing of Neanderthal women by Homo sapiens.  In Europe, however, there was outright competition between Neanderthal and Homo sapiens Cro Magnon man with the latter ousting the former.

Both before and after this encounter in the west, Neanderthal also moved eastwards through Asia to Siberia and Alaska reaching North America and South America possibly 100 000 years ago, but certainly by 30 000 years ago.  All over America and in Siberia canoe nomads left behind the Miolithic stone industry which is akin to the Mousterian stone industry.  Using these obsidian stone weapons he hunted American megafauna on the plains, while other tribes specialized in being marine hunter-gatherers.

What Homo neanderthalensis with his Middle Palaeolithic stone tool industry had made was a way of life that enabled him to exploit resources that other peoples had not exploited fully up until then.  Canoes allowed him to inhabit the shores of the Black Sea, cross the Mediterranean into Europe and penetrate inland via rivers.  At some point he ventured far enough north to cross from Siberia into Alaska and enter the continent of America. It was there for the taking as it was mainly uninhabited by previous peoples.

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