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Gamma_31 t1_ja9dk7l wrote

I'm a complete layman here, but it makes me wonder if Neanderthals were bred out of existence more than anything. I heard from PBS Eons that it's conjectured that Neanderthals had greater nutritional needs, and that it's possible hybrids between Neanderthals and Sapiens were infertile for one sex (males I think?). If Sapiens was more adept at gathering resources, it would follow that some number of Neanderthals might successfully join Human communities and survive to pass their genes on to the Sapiens population. If all-Sapiens and blended communities were doing better at survival than all-Neanderthal communities, that would eventually lead to the extinction of the Neanderthals while preserving some of their genetics in primarily-Sapiens descendants.

I do wonder how migration of other groups into Europe that did not have Neanderthal ancestry affected the distribution of Neanderthal genetics in the native European populations. Could that have possibly diluted the contribution of Neanderthal ancestry of some European groups to current levels?


OrangeSlimeSoda t1_ja9h195 wrote

Yes, Neaderthals required about 30-50% more calories daily than Homo Sapien Sapiens. This meant that they were less able to survive on foraging than Homo Sapien Sapeins were, and both the men and women were involved in hunts. Since hunting poses greater physical danger, the adult mortality rate for Neaderthal women would have been higher than for Homo Sapien Sapien women. Neaderthals also hit sexual maturity a few years earlier than modern humans do, meaning that they generally had less time in adolescence to hone their skills before being expected to perform the same tasks as adults. All these factors would have limited their population growth and made life as an adult more dangerous. I can see this as being a major reason why Neaderthals were forced to breed with Homo Sapien Sapiens as their own numbers dwindled.


Zenkakau t1_ja9rsja wrote

Wait but homo sapien sapien both man and woman hunted too


OrangeSlimeSoda t1_ja9t9av wrote

Yes, it occurred in Homo Sapien Sapien societies but not necessarily out of a biological necessity. Generally, men hunted and women foraged, but roles could and would be shared when and if needed. The fact that modern humans could survive on scavenged food gave modern humans some wiggle room to avoid taking unnecessary hunting risks. Foraging (and pre-pubescent children having more time to learn foraging skills), typically done by women instead of men, would have therefore been an essential factor to the long-term success of Homo Sapien Sapiens over other hominids.


OlyScott t1_jab6hef wrote

I've heard that there's not good evidence that men were the hunters and women were the gatherers.


orincoro t1_jaa3o1s wrote

Moreover it is really not strongly supported that humans actually outcompeted Neanderthals in any particular way. They could been bred out, died of disease, or many other outcomes. The argument that we necessity survived because we were better on some way is not very scientific. Weaker and less resilient species win out all the time for obscure reasons.


OwnedMyself t1_jaa6y8z wrote

If you want to see an extension to your pondering, your comment reminds me of this video which always makes me chuckle when I watch it!

The guy probably made it as a joke… but now I can’t be sure he’s not some kind of time traveler…


Mapleson_Phillips t1_ja9qxzr wrote

The fact that we have a female Neanderthal genetic inheritance, but a male one leads strong credence to this observation.