26 August 2008

The demise of our smart cousins

A recent academic article argues that Neanderthals were just as smart as Homo Sapiens. The authors apparently conclude (according to the news story) that the Homo Sapiens' switch to a different, but no more effecient, type of stone cutting tool gave them greater group identity and allowed them to push out their Neanderthal cousins. Sounds pretty "flaky" to me. Wouldn't it make more sense to conclude that they looked different and therefore killed their cousins off due to racism--in this case, real racism since the Neanderthals would have truly been genetically different.

Citation of original article: Metin I. Eren, Aaron Greenspan, C. Garth Sampson. Are Upper Paleolithic blade cores more productive than Middle Paleolithic discoidal cores? A replication experiment. Journal of Human Evolution.

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