The person you are referring to from New Zealand is Robert Mann. He's
actually a quite decent anti-GMO organizer, but (just my opinion) weak when
it comes to stuff outside his field (global warming/climate change,
sociology of gender, etc.). He's really arrogant as well. I think a lot of
people have set their spam filters to filter him out.
With regard to the new hypothesis re: Neanderthal you have an
interesting commentary, and I'm embarrassed for my own narrow, knee-jerk
reaction to the initial post. My only question would be: if this were the
case, how did they survive as a species for any length of time at all? My
quip about homo sapiens killing them off is just a speculation, but based in
the idea that, if Neanderthals did not develop the keen language skills that
homo sapiens had already developed, then they certainly would be no match
for them in warfare, and would likely have gotten in the way as homo sapiens
began to use land and animals in a way that Neanderthals would have found
----- Original Message -----
From: "Claudia Hemphill" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, December 10, 2006 5:59 PM
Subject: Re: Anthropologists blame women - a note of explanation
> 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
> may have
> 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
> following your
> 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."