Both Neanderthals and Homo sapiens descended from Homo erectus and were evolutionary adjacent. According to mainstream academia, modern Homo sapiens all came from Africa, having come out of Africa to expand their habitat and kill native humans in other regions before conquest. the whole Earth. The first adversaries our ancestors encountered when they left Africa were the Neanderthals, the rulers of Europe and western Asia.
According to the human evolutionary diagram, we tend to evolve with brains getting bigger and smarter. However, recent studies have shown that the brain of Neanderthals was larger than that of Homo sapiens. So the question arises, how did Homo sapiens with smaller brains beat Neanderthals with larger brains?
The difference in technology generation
Archaeological findings show that although Neanderthals had larger brains than Homo sapiens, their stone tool making technology was not superior to Homo sapiens. When they met, Neanderthals could only manufacture stone spears and machetes for hand-to-hand combat, while Homo sapiens were able to manufacture weapons for long-range attacks, such as javelin throwing. Thus, although the Nepalese were physically stronger than Homo sapiens, and better at hand-to-hand combat than Homo sapiens, they were no match for Homo sapiens in intertribal weapons wars.
The remains of a Neanderthal man between 40 and 50 years old were found in Iraq who died from a javelin pierced his ribs. The age of the skeleton is 50,000 to 75,000 years ago, at that time Neanderthals still did not have such weapons but Homo sapiens did, so the killer must be Homo sapiens. At this time, Homo sapiens had just left Africa and was competing with Neanderthals in the Middle East today.
And 36,000 years ago, another Neanderthal remains were found in France, the cause of death was a spear hit in the head, and the killer was clearly Homo sapiens. By that time, Homo sapiens had pushed the front lines of the war into Western Europe, home of the Neanderthals, and the doom of the Nepalese was also imminent.
Not only in weapons, Homo sapiens showed that technology was ahead of Neanderthals in many ways. For example, clothing tools are commonly found at Homo sapiens sites, but never found at Neanderthal sites, suggesting that Homo sapiens was clothed, whereas humans were. Neanderthals at that time still wore only animal skins. In addition, Homo sapiens was able to build houses, while Neanderthals of the time could only use natural caves.
Demographic and social advantage
Why do Neanderthals have larger brains, but their technology lags behind Homo sapiens significantly? This is because the technology that everyone masters was not primarily invented by their innate ingenuity, but rather the product of acquired learning. Therefore, social networks have a particularly important position.
Archaeological findings show that Neanderthals mostly lived in small and sparse tribes, while Homo sapiens tribes of the same time were large and densely distributed. Homo sapiens developed complex social networks, while Neanderthals did not.
As a result, Homo sapiens can master more technologies better and pass them on to the next generation, and new technology can be spread faster and more widely. With the help of social networks.
Even so, when the two races faced off against each other, the numerical and technological superiority was in favor of Homo sapiens, and the failure of the Neanderthals was not surprising.
Environment can be the deciding factor
Why did Neanderthals lag behind Homo sapiens in social development? Some experts have found the reason from a physiological perspective. It turns out that although the brains of Neanderthals were larger, the spaces responsible for abstract thinking and linguistic expression were smaller than those of Homo sapiens, so their social attributes were not as good as those of humans. Homo sapiens. Artwork and petroglyphs are commonly found at Homo sapiens sites, but they are rare at Neanderthal sites, and Neanderthal stone tools were mostly primitive than humans. Homo sapiens abound.
However, recent research and analysis shows that the cause of the failure of Neanderthals was mainly caused by environmental reasons. The Neanderthals lived in the north, where the environment was relatively harsh (especially when the temperatures in the Pleistocene were lower than now), their hunting productivity was relatively low, and their living conditions were incomparable. compared to the savannah of Africa. Therefore, the population density of Homo sapiens was higher, and it was easier to form large tribes.
The confrontation between Homo sapiens and Neanderthals happened not once, but twice. During the Imia interphase about 130,000 years ago, Homo sapiens first stepped out of Africa, this time following the “north route”, from Africa to the Middle East, and then to East Asia.
At the same time, the Neanderthals were on an “Eastern expedition” that conquered Western Asia and Central Asia. The “Northern Expeditionary Army” of Homo sapiens and the “Eastern Expeditionary Army” of the Neanderthals fought in the Middle East. As a result, the Neanderthals won. These Homo sapiens all died or returned to Africa 80,000 years ago at the latest.
Since the last ice age 70,000 years ago, Homo sapiens left Africa again, this time taking the “southern route”, conquering the southern coastal regions of Asia for the first time and enter Australia. About 60,000 years ago, this group of Homo sapiens began to move in the direction of the Middle East and Europe, and again competed with the Neanderthals. This time, the Neanderthals retreated gradually and were eventually expelled altogether.
Why did the Neanderthals win first and then lose against Homo sapiens? Technological progress of Homo sapiens surpassed that of Neanderthals during the armistice, which may be an important reason. But environmental factors may have played a very important role. The last ice age was extremely dry, and most of the world was transformed into an open habitat like that of Homo sapiens – the African savannah.
This time, Homo sapiens really easily defeated the Neanderthals. By 45,000 years ago, Homo sapiens had completely conquered the Middle East and began to attack Europe, after more than 5,000 years, the Neanderthals had disappeared from the Earth.