Looks like a grant application to me
Posted by aogWednesday, 21 February 2007 at 20:07 TrackBack Ping URL

Orrin Judd cites a story about the extinction of Neanderthals. The previous theory was that we, homo sapiens, exterminated them. Now the theory that climate change (a Little Ice Age) did them in. I normally resist OJ’s view that there is no objective reality, but doesn’t the change of theory from war like humans to climate change seem a bit too tenor of the times?

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Peter Burnet Thursday, 22 February 2007 at 10:53

”[The chill] looks pretty severe and also quite short,” Professor Finlayson told the BBC. “Things like olive trees and oak trees that are still with us today managed to ride it out. But a very fragmented, stressed population of Neanderthals - and perhaps other elements of the fauna - did not.”

So, for those irresponsible ones among us who hide behind predictions that climate disasters are too far in the future to worry about, beware. It can zap you anytime, anywhere, just like Zeus’ lightning bolts. Boo!

My theory is that the Neanderthals refused to sign the climate treaty we proposed or cut back on their environmentally dangerous hunting practices, so we killed them. Strong medicine for sure, but we warned them first in the workshops.

erp Thursday, 22 February 2007 at 14:08

and seriously, what else could we do?

pj Thursday, 22 February 2007 at 21:52

Actually, I think the usual theory is “both.” The cold climate brought glaciers over all of northern Europe, save Iberia and Italy, and squeezed all human populations into a small area that couldn’t support pre-existing populations. The usual hypothesis is that there must have been a lot of warfare (or famine) to cull the excess population. It happens that the Neanderthals died out about the time of the cold climate. Presumably the cold itself didn’t kill them, but the cold made the conflict with modern humans that much more severe.

Tom C. Friday, 23 February 2007 at 14:40

All of the factors mentioned could just as easily have led to interbreeding as well. Next time your on a rush hour train, in a ballpark or at the gym, take a look around. Count the hairy backs next time you’re at the beach.

cjm Monday, 26 February 2007 at 14:15

look at brow ridges too, if you want some eye popping confirmation.

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