|The wily leader of the hunt.|
Upwind of the three hidden in the brush there is movement in the tall grass. Two of the hunting co-op on one side, and three on the other, were flanking their prey. They had learned their roles as children, and were executing them perfectly—acting like wing forwards in a soccer match in which the three hidden in the brush downwind were the center forwards, waiting for the wingers to force their opponent to make a mistake and create a chance to score—in this case, the wingers function to make their prey run straight at the hunting blind where ambush and certain death awaited.
|Preparing for the hunt.|
|A job well done.|
The days were turning colder, and it was time for the group to take refuge in a small cave in the adjacent hillside.
Despite the graphics, cleverly designed to keep you off my scent, the scenario I just described isn't that of a hypothetical group of Neanderthals. It's an [almost] verbatim account of African lion cooperative hunting behaviour, habitually anchored by an alpha female.
I've taken your time today to illustrate how vapid and at the same time misleading are the claims that palaeoanthropologists trot out at every opportunity—that those brilliant Neanderthals took part in cooperative hunting forays, underpinned by big brains, big mouths, and the ability to make sharp sticks. Clearly it requires less brain mass, and no vocalization nor language to organize a hunt involving several conspecifics.
So, when you go back home tonight, and you're imbibing more gibberish about the fascinating and remarkable Neanderthals, remember this moment. Carry it with you through all your days, and at every opportunity throw it back in the faces of those who'd have you believe that cooperative hunting is unique to large bipedal apes.
|Panthera leo Regina surveys her domain.|
Thanks for joining me today. There's more to come.