Neanderthals, academia and machismo.

I happened (by mistake) to click on the oven of an Italian newspaper, and to read a pippone about the causes of the disappearance of the Neanderthal man, who would have been overwhelmed by Homo sapiens in a kind of deathmatch.

This deathmatch, according to scholars, must necessarily have one of two forms:

  • War. Homo Sapiens would have defeated Neanderthal man because he was better at war, he had better weapons, more refined strategies, and all that makes you win a war.
  • Competition. Homo sapiens would have defeated Neanderthal man because, being superior in intelligence, he knew more refined technologies for hunting, fishing and agriculture. Resource competition, or economic competition.

While these theories are credible, they have one small flaw. An evident, monstrous machismo that assigns the “merit” of everything to the more masculine dimensions (war and economic competition).

To tell me how male-dominated the academy is, especially in that sector of research, is the absurd obstinacy in excluding the hypothesis that it should have been the most followed hypothesis.

We are talking about a demographic phenomenon. The species A which replaces the species B is nothing more than a demographic phenomenon. And when it comes to the demographic phenomenon, the main hypothesis is always the biological one, that is the fertility rate.

If, for example, sapiens women had been more fertile (or more numerous) than Neanderthal women, for example, the birth rate would have been visibly higher. And this alone is enough (and advances) to explain a demographic phenomenon of substitution.

Because in the world of biology a population A replacing population B requires a simple condition to be true: that A reproduces faster than B.

When you go to the world of mammals, and talk about population growth rate, inevitably you have to involve the females of the species in the success of the species itself .

The following theory could be stated, by hypothesis: homo sapiens and homo neandertalensis were equal in everything, but the sapiens women reproduced better, or (being more intelligent) they were much more skilled in parental care, and therefore more children survived. .

Such a theory, which attributes the biological responsibility of substitution to women, is perfectly credible on a mathematical level. It would be enough for Neanderthal women to have had 8/9 ovulations per year against 12/13 for a sapiens woman, with a period of "stop" by the Neanderthal woman, to obtain a drastic overtaking in population growth.

Moreover, parental care is also fundamental for population growth. If, for example, a sapiens woman had been more competent in parental care or more suitable for breastfeeding (better milk? More nutritious? More antibodies?), And she had managed to save 20% more of her children from infant death. children compared to the competitor, the mathematical conditions for a demographic substitution were all there.

Even on the technological level, all the success is attributed to technological ability in the field of war and economic competition over resources. But if we assume that the resources were still sufficient at least in the settlement areas, we can introduce a new technology.


Welcome to the world of make-up. Archaeologists confirm that female make-up, ie cosmetics, has been in use since ancient times. At this point, the problem is simple: it is sufficient that homo sapiens women were more attractive to males and had 10% more sexual intercourse to change the fertility rate. Moreover, if the number of intercourse increases in frequency, the demographic balance shifts towards the birth of females , so the “technologies” involved could also be different from those for hunting and those for war. Not to mention other “hearth angels” technologies, such as food storage, or food cooking (which dramatically changes the survival rate of babies in some seasons).

But as far as I see the focus of the academy, when it comes to neanderthals, it all rests on less economic hypotheses (skills in warfare without any evidence there has ever been this war between sapiens and neanderthals to name one), while the biologically more ' economic (higher fertility of women sapiens for biological reasons) is almost always neglected.

And this thing is extravagant, because in modern nuclear DNA there are the genetic signs of Neanderthal man, while the mitochondrial DNA shows African genes. Apparently, it was Neanderthal males who mated with female sapiens: nuclear DNA also comes from the father, while mitochondrial DNA comes only from the mother.

It would have been more rational to think that the substitution of the neanderthals by the sapiens was due not so much to the characteristics normally associated with men (hunting, competition, technology) but to women (fertility and parental care).

But as far as I can see, the academy uses an Aristotelianism from the 1800s, considering Neanderthals and Sapiens as two nations, and then wondering how one nation defeated the other. And obviously they give the same answers given by the historians of the nineteenth century: one nation defeats the other in a war or through better production capacities.

So, either they are men better at war invading enemy territory, or they are men better at hunting (no, women don't hunt, at least during pregnancy and puerperium. Running and fighting against an animal are not very easy things. if you have a big belly or are raising a baby).

Historically, the idea that the sapiens overpowered the neanderthals because females were superior, not males, is a hypothesis that has always been ignored. The protagonist must be the male.

I cannot find a single theoretical document that attributes the demographic success of homo sapiens mainly or solely to the reproductive capacity of sapiens women, while I also find very imaginative hypotheses ranging from a few (one or two) centimeters in length of the knives, (evidently academics don't know how a knife works in warfare), and the funny thing is that several hypotheses about better sexual performance of male sapiens have been taken into consideration.

But writings that attribute demographic success to a biological success of sapiens women in the birth rate are very rare and receive harsh peer reviews. There is no evidence. Instead of evidence of an invasion war between the sapiens nation and the neanderthal nation there is galore, right?

Still, the biological one is the most economical hypothesis.

And that says a lot about academia, at least in some areas.

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