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Around the time Neanderthal populations started to decline, researchers found an increase in the amount of rabbit bones in areas populated by humans

http://science.nbcnews.com/_news/20...-scientists-blame-those-rascally-rabbits?lite

Either Neanderthals did not eat rabbit, or they could not catch/kill rabbits, but something caused Neanderthals not to eat as much rabbit as humans.

There is a lot to take in from that article:

Being able to catch / kill a wide range of game.
Having access to a wide range of food.
Possessing the knowledge to obtain food.

Towards the end of the last ice age, big game started to disappear. Neanderthals were big game hunters. Why didn't they adapt and eat smaller game? Neanderthals had to be smart, after all they had been around for 200,000 years?
 

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Beer Truck Door Gunner
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Or perhaps we humans just killed the Neanderthals off as competition.
 

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LEGAL citizen
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Primitive humans were scavengers and ate whatever they could scavenge, kill or forage. Pretty much what we would do now during a SHTF situation. For them, every day was a SHTF situation.
 

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Monkey with a gun
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Maybe the rabbits ate the Neanderthals. Don't forget, one attacked President Carter on a fishing trip. I'mtellingya, this theory needs to be explored.
 

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Maybe the rabbits ate the Neanderthals. Don't forget, one attacked President Carter on a fishing trip. I'mtellingya, this theory needs to be explored.
Might have been a Killer Bunny!





What? You couldn't say killer rabbits without Monty Python showing up eventually. :D:
 

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In memory of Rokitdog
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Towards the end of the last ice age, big game started to disappear. Neanderthals were big game hunters. Why didn't they adapt and eat smaller game? Neanderthals had to be smart, after all they had been around for 200,000 years?
Modern humans have been around quite a long time too but they dont seem to be any smarter. Just sayin.......
 

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kev: Either Neanderthals did not eat rabbit, or they could not catch/kill rabbits, but something caused Neanderthals not to eat as much rabbit as humans.
I suspect that the researchers are going up a blind alley...attempting to find a hypothesis to match circumstantial data. As you noted, Neanderthals had a 200,000 year run and were able to hunt a variety of game (seafood, birds, large game) across a wide geographical range. I doubt that they had problems catching rabbits.

Occam's Razor suggests that absence of Neanderthal rabbit bone middens is more likely an indicator of:

1) a lack of rabbits.
2) a rabbit consumption taboo
3) a lack of Neanderthals.

Neanderthals may have avoided rabbit flesh as Muslims avoid swine or Hindus avoid beef. Perhaps Neanderthal were genetically more susceptible to Tularemia or some other rabbit borne pathogen. Perhaps they had religious convictions that proscribed hunting rabbits.

Absence of sign can be an indication of population decline. Perhaps there are fewer rabbit bones documented because Neanderthals were already a declining population.
 

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Actually, there is two lines of thought here.

One, it is unlikely rabbit alone was of any significant aid to early humans as, even back then, we are unable to process certain dietary elements of rabbit meat. I learned of this during my Medical Anthropology classes. I will have to go refer to the text, but a study showed there were (if I remember correctly) certain protein characteristics that prevented humans from making good use of it.

There is also the whole "rabbit starvation" thing, but I believe that among most human populations in that time there would have been enough dietary diversity at most times to make lean meat starvation a non-issue.

The other thought I have on this issue is that there are far more anthropological reasons for the failure of Neanderthals than most people are aware of. There are small as well as substantial issues that made them die out.

For example, skeletal studies suggest that Neanderthals might have been anatomically limited in their speech. They would have lacked the enunciation and pronunciation we (and our early ancestors possessed) limiting their ability to communicate. It is believed, based on some studies, that Neanderthal spoke not unlike a life long deaf person is stereotypically shown to sound. This form of speech would have limited the ability to form certain phraseology (try and speak as openly and nasally as you can and say "Look out behind you...a lion" while still being understood by others), as well as ability to be understood at a distance or with volume (do the same phrase but try to yell it as loud as you can).

Just my two bits.
 

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I find that interesting information. I had no idea rabbits were so important for human survival. As to why they didn't eat as much rabbit, it could be due to not as many rabbits in the area or that they didn't see the rabbit as proper food. Modern day example: the potato family in Ireland. Potatoes was the main crop in Ireland. When people were starving, the US decide to send beets which the Irish considered pigs' food and refused to eat them. (I myself have Irish ancestors who came to the Americas centuries before the famine and beets are one of my favorite vegetables.) As to the Neanderthals some one did mention the fact that many humans have their DNA so they did not disappear completely. Even now there are humans that have Neanderthals features, including a well know actor, which is exceptional considering how long since they became "extinct". Among my ancestor are a tribe of American indians (Tainos) who supposedly became extinct about four centuries ago which is strange considering that my grandmother was one of them, so were most of her ancestors. Thousands of people who share my heritage were tested and it was found that most still had Taino DNA. In other words, scientists don't really have an idea of what constitutes extinction. When it comes to genetics some genes are dominant some recessive but it doesn't mean they they lost for ever, which explains my grandson's light blue eyes.
 

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I myself have a Neanderthal trait significant enough that one of my Physical Anthro profs convinced me to leave my skull to a company after my death.

I have a highly pronounced External Occipital Protuberance...in simple terms that sort of ledge at the base of the skull all the neck muscles and such attach to. On most humans it is very small due to evolution. When my head is shaved (like a brush cut or less) it looks like I am wearing part of a helmet under there.


And I wanna say right off, if a prepper had been in One Million BC then Racquel would have had a much more styling rabbit skin outfit...
 
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