Adaptation + Problem-Solving = Survival of the Fittest
Speaking of the caveman diet….did you know that in prehistoric history (post-dinosaurs of course) different species of humans co-existed? Neither did I. I assumed that Neanderthals existed alone during their era but they co-existed with early homo sapiens… us. watch evolution homo sapiens vs Neanderthals. Remains of Neanderthals found in France overlap with the earliest remains of modern humans from the same area. The fossils of early humans and Neanderthals have been found in the same vicinity and time indicating that two intelligent beings coexisted.
Neanderthals were very successful. They survived for about 150,000 years. They were almost exclusively carnivorous and they were great predators. They were hunters and gatherers so they had a reasonably balanced diet. They cooked vegetables and used tools. watch neanderthal: simple minded or intelligent? Neanderthals were probably not really human. Research has found that the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of early modern humans and Neanderthals were quite different.
Living humans have on average eight differences in the 378-unit DNA strand investigated during a particular study, while the Neanderthal differed in 27 places. Perhaps while they co-existed differences prevented interbreeding or resulted in sterile hybrids. Another study suggests that any human whose ancestral group developed outside Africa has a little Neanderthal in them – between 1 and 4 per cent of their genome. In other words, humans and Neanderthals had sex and had hybrid offspring who survived but probably not for long and weren’t a successful species. watch neanderthal man
Neanderthals didn’t stand the test of time since they were unable to adapt to the environment biologically or intellectually. Neanderthals were built for the Ice Age. They were broad and stout, had a heavy step, they got up close to their prey and speared it. Then during the passing of the IA, the land changed and with it so did prey. Prey got faster but Neanderthals couldn’t run: they weren’t built for it. watch can neanderthal run? Neanderthals didn’t adapt to open spaces and that was where the big game lived. Neanderthals retreated to forests as their population dwindled. Homo sapiens on the other hand figured they would catch more food if they lived on hilltops where they could survey the landscape. Then they made a plan of attack to isolate an animal from its herd. Homo sapiens weren’t just intelligent (as were Neanderthals) they were problem-solvers and that was key to their survival. watch neanderthal: recreating the face
It was in problem-solving that humans had an edge over Neanderthals and were able to exploit food sources and habitat. Neanderthals lived in valleys and didn’t have this advantage. Over thousands of years, Neanderthals competed with homo sapiens for food and natural resources until finally Neanderthals became extinct. watch animated reconstruction of evolution In the end survival of the fittest came down to problem-solving and biological adaptation.
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