Hi, Phil -
I finally read the string of messages if only to find out why "BLAME WOMEN" was repeating
over and over in my
email queue -- hardly an encouraging thing to see, I hope you'll agree.
Anyway, I posted a comment back to SftP and just wanted to say to you -- I do think I for one
misunderstood your choice of headline ??? And I'm open to clarificaiton.
I must say, though, I would have deleted it unread, with imprecations, if it were from our list-
mate from New
Zealand, the anti-spelling anti-'wimmen' misogynist. Fortunately, I now have him on
permanent spam filtering,
so I can't even remember his name.
You're not him, I hope :-) I thought it was a good article and look forward to reading the full
item in CA. I just
wanted to make sure you understand I am not denouncing your article re-titling, just not
rationale. If you do think the article, or their research, is "sexist", I'd be interested in learning
Claudia Hemphill Pine
PhD Candidate, Env Science
University of Idaho
----- Original Message -----
From: Phil Gasper <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Saturday, December 9, 2006 6:27 pm
Subject: Re: Anthropologists blame women for Neanderthal demise
To: [log in to unmask]
> Problem: Why did the Neanderthals die out? Hypothesis: Neanderthal
> women joined the hunt instead of staying home with the kids. Hence
> tendentious heading.
> >Why the tendentious heading for your post? The hypothesis clearly
> >does not 'blame women," if female Neanderthals are even rightly
> >referred to as that. What is at issue is the lack of a sexual
> >division of labor. Such a division, in a preliterate society,
> >twice the knowledge to be preserved and handed down. Of course, a
> >non-sexual division into two groups would accomplish the same, but
> >if groups sometimes split apart, the sexual division would
> >better preserve the full range of knowledge.
> >On Dec 9, 2006, at 4:46 PM, Phil Gasper wrote:
> >>Neanderthal Women Joined Men in the Hunt
> >>By NICHOLAS WADE
> >>A new explanation for the demise of the Neanderthals, the stockily
> >>built human species that occupied Europe until the arrival of modern
> >>humans 45,000 years ago, has been proposed by two anthropologists at
> >>the University of Arizona.
> >>Unlike modern humans, who had developed a versatile division of
> labor>>between men and women, the entire Neanderthal population
> seems to have
> >>been engaged in a single main occupation, the hunting of large game,
> >>the scientists, Steven L. Kuhn and Mary C. Stiner, say in an article
> >>posted online yesterday in Current Anthropology.
> >>Because modern humans exploited the environment more efficiently, by
> >>having men hunt large game and women gather small game and plant
> >>foods, their populations would have outgrown those of the
> >>The Neanderthals endured for about 100,000 years, despite a
> punishing>>way of life. They preyed on the large animals that
> flourished in
> >>Europe in the ice age like bison, deer, gazelles and wild horses.
> But>>there is no evidence that they knew of bows and arrows.
> Instead, they
> >>used stone-tipped spears.
> >>Hunting large game at close range is perilous, and Neanderthal
> >>skeletons bear copious fractures. Dr. Kuhn and Dr. Stiner argue that
> >>Neanderthal women and children took part in the dangerous hunts,
> >>probably as beaters and blockers of exit routes.
> >>Their argument, necessarily indirect, begins with the human
> >>hunter-gatherer societies, almost all of which have a division of
> >>labor between the sexes.
> >>At sites occupied by modern humans from 45,000 to 10,000 years
> ago, a
> >>period known as the Upper Paleolithic, there is good evidence of
> >>different occupations, from small animal and bird remains, as
> well as
> >>the bone awls and needles used to make clothes. It seems
> reasonable to
> >>assume that these activities were divided between men and women,
> as is
> >>the case with modern foraging peoples.
> >>But Neanderthal sites include no bone needles, no small animal
> remains>>and no grinding stones for preparing plant foods. So what did
> >>Neanderthal women do all day?
> >>Their skeletons are so robustly built that it seems improbable that
> >>they just sat at home looking after the children, the
> anthropologists>>write. More likely, they did the same as the men,
> with the whole
> >>population engaged in bringing down large game.
> >>The meat of large animals yields a rich payoff, but even the best
> >>hunters have unlucky days. The modern humans of the Upper
> Paleolithic,>>with their division of labor and diversified food
> sources, would have
> >>been better able to secure a continuous food supply. Nor were they
> >>putting their reproductive core - women and children - at great
> >>David Pilbeam, a paleoanthropologist at Harvard, said the Arizona
> >>researchers' article was "very stimulating and thoughtful" and
> seemed>>to be the first to propose a mechanism for why Neanderthal
> >>Dr. Stiner said the division of labor between the sexes was
> likely to
> >>have arisen in a tropical environment. Indeed, it may have provided
> >>the demographic impetus for modern humans to expand out of
> Africa, she
> >>A rival hypothesis proposed by Richard Klein of Stanford University
> >>holds that some cognitive advance like the perfection of language
> >>underlay the burst of innovative behavior shown by Upper Paleolithic
> >>people and their predecessors in Africa.
> >>Why did the Neanderthals fail to adapt when modern humans arrived on
> >>their doorstep? Under Dr. Klein's hypothesis, the reason is simply
> >>that they were cognitively less advanced.
> >>Dr. Stiner said that in her view there was not time for them to
> change>>their culture. "Although there may have been differences in
> >>neurological wiring," she said, "I think another very important
> key is
> >>the legacy of cultural institutions about social roles." Is there a
> >>genetic basis to the division of labor that emerged in the modern
> >>human lineage? "It's equally compelling to argue that most or all of
> >>this has a cultural basis," Dr. Stiner said. "That's where it's very
> >>difficult for people like us and Richard Klein to resolve the
> basis of
> >>our disagreement."