I absolutely buy Danny Vendramini’s theory on Neanderthal-human interaction, because it throws out the anachronistic, humanistic overlay, and anthropomorphic view of our ancient, vanquished foe. After seeing this theory, much of ancient myth, from Humbaba and Grendel, to the Windigo, Sasquatch and the Yeti make much more sense. As a horror writer I have found myself tapping into this King Kong complex at the base of our nocturnal psychology. As a science-fiction writer dealing with early humanity I have found my higher self bowing to the horror writer. In my novel, Beyond the Ember Star I separated the narrative as far from standard scholarship as possible without looking like a crank. After viewing the videos below I want to do another Neanderthal novel.
Six times stronger than humans!
One thing about their diet that Danny does not explain is that 50% of the meat Neanderthals consumed was the auroch, a positively massive breed of giant cattle, which would have had to have been killed hand-to-hand, with spears and knives, not with bows and arrows and atlatls. Neanderthals would not have been able to throw, due to their musculature, which prevents the development of throwing tools and thus does not provide the leap to the invention of the bow and arrow, which may well have been the weapon that did them in. Imagine though, if you could give a Neanderthal a bow and teach him how to use and make it? They were larger-brained than us and seem to have invented wind instruments and religion. That was the premise of my novel, that a time traveler might be able to stave off Neanderthal extinction if you gave them bow and arrow technology.
The aspect of his theory I disagree with is that man’s genocidal proclivity was born when early modern humans were forced to adapt to Neanderthal predation and turn the tables on the beast men. There is ample evidence that earlier forms of hominids wiped each other out, and current populations—such as Central and Southern Africans—with no DNA trace to these monster-hunting “Cromagnon” men, were quick studies in the genocide game and were responsible for wiping out the capoid races who had previously dominated Africa.
The discussion of the genome on this Red Ice Radio show is very good. The population bottleneck they are discussing was caused by the Toba Super-eruption 74,000 years ago.
The predatory nature of Vendramini’s Neanderthal turns some readers off but it makes me feel better to have Neanderthal DNA in my genome. I’m looking forward to watching King Kong again.
Neanderthal: Profile of a super predator
Red Ice Radio - Danny Vendramini - Hour 1 - Them & Us: Neanderthal Predation Theory