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What Rabbits Can Tell US About Neanderthal Extinction?

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What Rabbits Can Tell US About Neanderthal Extinction?

PostAuthor: Piling » Tue Jun 09, 2015 7:06 pm

Newswise — When thinking about the extinction of Neanderthals some 30,000 years ago, rabbits may not be the first thing that spring to mind. But the way rabbits were hunted and eaten by Neanderthals and modern humans – or not, as the case may be – may offer vital clues as to why one species died out while the other flourished.
Dr John Stewart, Associate Professor in Paleoecology and Environmental Change at Bournemouth University (BU), is part of a team which analysed data on rabbit bone remains, found in archaeological excavations of caves in the Iberian Peninsula. They found that while rabbits were a crucial part of the modern humans’ diet, they were relatively under-utilised by Neanderthals.
“Rabbits originated in Iberia and they are a very special kind of resource, in that they can be found in large numbers, they are relatively easy to catch and they are predictable,” said Dr Stewart. “This means that they are quite a good food source to target. The fact that the Neanderthals did not appear to do so suggests that this was a resource they did not have access to in the same way as modern humans.”
The fact that Neanderthals – typically associated with hunting large prey over short distances in woodland settings – were seemingly unable to catch and kill such creatures is compounded by rapid changes in the environment. “The climate was changing and the ecology was decreasing in terms of the amount of animals they were able to hunt,” Dr Stewart explained. “If Neanderthals were more tied to these large mammals, the loss of them could have driven them to extinction.”
Evidence that modern humans were more able to hunt across large, open spaces – and used technological innovations such as twine and traps to help them catch faster,smaller prey, including rabbits – suggests that they adapted better to this change in surroundings. Dr Stewart said: “Modern humans had more that they could do – they had more possibilities and were more able to cope with the deterioration of climate than Neanderthals were. If modern humans thrived when Neanderthals did not, it must mean that modern humans were better at exploiting resources than Neanderthals.”
This ability to adapt to shifting temperatures is particularly pertinent, with climate change currently threatening to impact upon human life once more. “It does relate to our own situation currently, with humans now in this potentially perilous situation with climate change,” said Dr Stewart. “From a long-term ecological perspective, all species go extinct – that is an inevitability. But if we do not want it to happen sooner rather than later, we have to understand this phenomenon.”
Dr Stewart’s current work looks at how population changes in other species – such as birds and lemmings – at the time may mirror and have impacted upon what happened to the Neanderthals. He has also begun a multidisciplinary project with BU Associate Professor in Psychology Dr Jan Wiener and Senior Lecturer in Creative Technology Dr Christos Gatzidis. This will use computer game and eye-tracking technology to explore
detection of prey in different environments and uncover more about how these abilities first evolved.
The extinction of the Neanderthals, our closest known relative, is a subject that continues to attract fascination and debate, and so it is important to Dr Stewart that his work can be accessed by people who want to find out more. Publishing open access is one way in which he hopes to achieve this. “It is a no-brainer, really,” he said. “I do not think that any of us do research and want no-one to read it.
“Neanderthal extinction is one of the big anthropological issues – it’s the loss of the best known close relative that we’ve got, and I think most people have a passing interest. Our understanding of these species is amazing and it’s only getting better as we are realising how important it is to ourselves.”

http://www.newswise.com/articles/what-r ... extinction


I have never been fan of rabbit meat but I agree with the paper : the best diet is the one that allows you to survive whatever the conditions.
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What Rabbits Can Tell US About Neanderthal Extinction?

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Re: What Rabbits Can Tell US About Neanderthal Extinction?

PostAuthor: Iam-londoner » Wed Jun 10, 2015 8:16 am

That doesn't make sense. Rabbits multiply like rats if not controlled' and they would have been abundant during Neantherthals. Because of their abundant availability each meat eating species hunt them and eat them. Neanderthals would have done the same for sure unless culturally prohibited, something which, Neanderthals couldn't have had. Shiite sect of Islam prohibits eating rabbit meat because female rabbits have period bleeding like women.

This reminds me with my fun-loving older brother. Once he invited two of his Shiite friends for a feast of meat. They enjoyed the meat a lot. Before they left they asked my brother what was the meat they ate. He replied: 'Rabbit meat!!!'. They went mad. My brother immediately escaped. They chased him for hours but couldn't get him. :)) :((

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Re: What Rabbits Can Tell US About Neanderthal Extinction?

PostAuthor: Piling » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:34 am

I did not know that Shiites don't eat rabbits. Kurdish Alevis also, in fact, but I thought it was a Jewish influence : Rabbit meat is prohibited in Moses' law, as many other animals.
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Re: What Rabbits Can Tell US About Neanderthal Extinction?

PostAuthor: Iam-londoner » Wed Jun 10, 2015 3:47 pm

Piling wrote:I did not know that Shiites don't eat rabbits. Kurdish Alevis also, in fact, but I thought it was a Jewish influence : Rabbit meat is prohibited in Moses' law, as many other animals.


I didn't know it is prohibited in Jewish religion.

Going back to Neanderthal culture, by chance this afternoon I was watching a tv program about an Ice Age discovery of Neanderthal remains. The remains included very nice carved statues from mammoth tusks and mammoth tusks used to make huts. These are obviously signs indicate Neanderthals culturally fairly developed.

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Re: What Rabbits Can Tell US About Neanderthal Extinction?

PostAuthor: Piling » Wed Jun 10, 2015 7:37 pm

Neanderthals had fine culture and were skillfull hunters and artists. No one knows exactly why they disappeared and let Homo Sapiens Sapiens (us) alone. There are no evidences that they have been brutally exterminated, it seems to have been a slow extinction. That is the reason why there are so much hypothesis concerning the reasons.

Perhaps rabbit flesh was a religious taboo. Or for cultural reasons they did not eat it, as we do not eat dogs, rats, insects, snakes, though they are comestible in other parts of the world and in other cultures.

DNA researches prove now that homo sapiens sapiens and Neanderthals, though from 2 species, mixed each others and that each European and Asian human has between 1,5 - 2 % of Neanderthal genome as legacy. The total of Europeans and Asian population preserved 40% of the total Neanderthals' genome.
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Re: What Rabbits Can Tell US About Neanderthal Extinction?

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Jun 10, 2015 8:22 pm

Wrong to eat poor little fluffy bunnies :((
Good Thoughts Good Words Good Deeds
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