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Neanderthals and Rabbits

15 March 2013

A rather strange story at http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/failure-to-hunt-rabbits-part-of-… … and concerns the absence of rabbits and similar small animals in the diet of Neanderthals. It seems a very big assumption is being made here and it is taken further by the claim they failed to hunt rabbits, or were unable to hunt them because their technology was inadequate, and this led to their decline. I'm sure if Neanderthals were hungry they would eat anything they could catch, including our small furry friends with the long ears. Nothing like a wild rabbit stew.

Do we see here some kind of puzzlement by mainstream, desperate to find a reason, any kind of reason, for the disappearance of the Neanderthals between 30 and 40 thousand years ago – blinkered by leaving out of the equation, catastrophism. Why on earth hunting large animals of the savannah rather than small animals on the fringe should have anything to do with it is beyond credibility, in some ways. People adapt. The commenters at the end of the article are even more spurious.

The paper was published in the Journal of Human Evolution and perhaps this explains the strange way of thinking – but hardly. It seriously suggests Neanderthals could have found it difficult to hunt smaller animals such as rabbits – which they claim were super abundant. The approach of many anthropologists still appears to be that Neanderthals were big and awkward, and somewhat dim witted.

Brian Hardy, an anthropologist with his feet on the ground responded by saying the authors were being too speculative as the data is limited. We don't know if Neanderthals ate rabbits or not.

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