Who Would Win: Human vs Neanderthal


Consider the primate species: Homo sapiens,
latin for “wise man”. Are modern humans the pinnacle of the food
chain, the strongest and most intelligent creatures ever to walk this Earth? Maybe now, but once upon a time, we had some
real competition: Neanderthals. “Wait, like, cave people? Weren’t Neanderthals our ancestors?” Nope! We came from the Cro-Magnon, which were early
modern humans. Neanderthals were a separate branch of humans. Their DNA is even different from ours, so
we can safely say that Neanderthals were a completely different species. So let me introduce Ned Neanderthal. He appeared from 430,000 to 40,000 years ago
in Europe. In 1856, Ned’s relatives were found for
the first time by archaeologists in a German valley called Neander. Hence the name. Clever. Then there’s Hank. Yep, looks a lot like any other guy you’ve
seen. And that’s because Hank is a modern human:
a homo sapiens. He’s a student at an archaeological institute. Yep, once he graduates, Hank will make a living
studying ancient human species like Ned! Hank, meet Ned; Ned, Hank. As you can see, Ned is shorter than Hank. The average Neanderthal was about 5’4”
and weighed around 160 pounds. At 5’9”, Hank is obviously taller. But Ned’s bones are much wider, his muscles
are larger and stronger, even his eyes are bigger. Neanderthals might’ve been smaller than
modern humans, but they made up for it in stoutness. I mean, just 1 of Ned’s fingers is as thick
as 2 of Hank’s! Yes, compared to Hank, Ned looks like a mountain
of muscles. But does that mean he’s stronger? Bigger doesn’t always mean better, ya know. As an example, Ned has a much more massive
skull because his brain is larger than Hank’s. But modern humans have more complex and efficient
brains. So, what’s better: brain or brawn? I think taking a look at these guys’ typical
days will help answer that question! –Morning
Hank the Human reluctantly wakes up from the incessant buzzing of an alarm clock and heads
to class. He might grab a piece of toast on the way
out, but who are we kidding? It’ll probably be a quick cup of coffee. Uh-oh! He’s gonna be late! Better book it to class! Oh boy, Hank’s winded just from running
a few feet! Ned, with the first rays of the sun, opens
his eyes and heads out for food. No, it’ll be anything but some prepackaged
ready meal from your friendly neighborhood grocery store. Like a real Tarzan, Ned makes his way through
the cold steppe. Thanks to his enlarged chest and wide nostrils,
Ned’s muscles consume much more oxygen. So on his thick muscular legs, he can easily
trek 30 miles just to find some dinner. He gets to his destination just in time – a
herd of wild buffalo are grazing out on a field. – Afternoon
Hank hardly made it through his first lecture and fell asleep in the second. He was awakened by his stomach growling. During the break, Hank runs to a vending machine
and gets himself a sandwich and a bag of chips. Ned tracks down his prey for two and a half
hours – a 1,500-pound bison. That’ll feed the whole family – failure
is not an option. He takes a deep breath in and runs toward
the bison, armed only with a crooked stone ax. One must be incredibly strong to emerge victorious
with such a beast. And Ned has won! As for Hank, well, let’s just say he once
got the life scared out of him by a goose that was set on taking his sandwich…and
the goose won. – Evening
After classes, Hank goes to the gym. There, he can bench press about 140 pounds. Sure, it’s not much, but Hank’s not looking
to become a professional bodybuilder or anything. As for Ned, well, he doesn’t need barbells
to stay strong. But if he could try a bench press, he could
probably lift a 500-pound barbell. Modern humans might be smarter, but Neanderthals
would win any arm-wrestling match. They were anywhere from 5-20% stronger than
modern humans. But, hey, we have longer limbs, so if there’s
gonna be a throw-down, Hank can always just hold Ned’s head at arm’s length! Not to mention, we have masters of martial
arts on our side! But even if these two could tee off in some
epic battle of the species, Ned is a little too busy. He and his fellow huntsmen need to carry dinner
back to the cave, which could be dozens of miles away! Yeah, it took strength and stamina… -Night
Hank and his friends see the latest blockbuster at the movies. Then it’s time to head back to the dorms. Ned is also making his way back home, but
“home” is an ever-changing place. Like all Neanderthals, Ned doesn’t linger
long in one place. Together with his family, he sets off to look
for a new spot to spend the night. Even on this long cold night, Ned finds an
ideal cave. He can see well enough without much sun – his
eyes are bigger and have adapted. Uh-oh! Looks like this cave has already been taken
by a bear! And it’s much larger than a grizzly! But Ned doesn’t care – he drives the bear
away, and his family can settle in their new, albeit temporary, abode! Over in his dorm, Hank has ordered a pizza
and is now playing video games with his girlfriend. Ned makes a fire in the cave, and his wife
Nellie, who is also much stronger in structure than most modern men, is making clothes, shoes,
and gloves out of the buffalo hide. Ned is making and fixing his tools. They’ve both had a hearty meal of raw meat. No pots, pans, spices, or ketchup. They ate it right off the bone! Hank goes to bed and checks his social media
before dozing off. Ned, exhausted after a busy day, is already
asleep on his grass bed. And, for both men, it all starts again tomorrow! But tomorrow is a special day!… – Happy Birthday! Yep, these two starkly different fellas share
a birthday! Both are turning 20 today! Only, Ned is already middle-aged! Neanderthals had an average lifespan of only
about 40 years. They grew up a lot faster than we do – for
Neanderthals, you were an adult at 12! Can you imagine being fully grown and fending
for yourself before you’re even a teen?! Ok, so if Ned is stronger than Hank’s early
ancestors, then why didn’t his species survive? Why aren’t we all…Neanderthals? Nobody knows the exact answer. But there are some interesting theories! –Diet
It’s possible that Neanderthals could’ve been ruined by a very bad diet consisting
of only meat. These tough guys hunted big game – they
weren’t too interested in fruits, vegetables, or nuts. But when severe frosts came, the population
of deer, mammoths, bison, and other goodies began to decline significantly. Neanderthals weren’t ready for this and
couldn’t just up and switch to another diet, so they began to falter off. –Conflict with Cro-Magnons
Due to this sharp global cooling, Neanderthals couldn’t cross a lot of distances, so they
were forced to coexist with the Cro-Magnons who migrated from Africa. The neighborhood, to put it mildly, didn’t
work well. Neanderthals might’ve been physically superior
to those early modern humans, but the Cro-Magnons were taller, more agile, and, most importantly,
more cunning. Also, the Cro-Magnons had throwing weapons
like spears, allowing them to triumph without even touching their opponents. Studies of Neanderthal skulls showed that
they had a much larger brain than Cro-Magnon. But remember, having a big brain isn’t enough. It’s important to use it correctly. The Neanderthals’ large eyes show that these
guys were perfectly able to perceive incoming information. In other words, they did what they need to
according to the situation. Cro-Magnon, though, learned to analyze information. They could think up plans in advance and united
into large tribes for a common goal – to defeat the Neanderthals. And they did just that. Also, the reason for the Neanderthals extinction
could be… Neanderthals themselves. Look, every male risked his life daily fighting
with bears, rhinos, mammoths and other ancient beasts. With such a fearless and explosive character,
Neanderthals could fight with each other, and it’s obvious that such conflicts didn’t
end well. Because of this hardcore lifestyle, the number
of men likely decreased, so the birthrate fell. And that, my friend, is why you and I aren’t
living in caves, gnawing on raw meat, and going up against giant woolly mammoths! Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing. Still, I wouldn’t challenge a Neanderthal
to a boxing match, that’s for sure… Finally, I’m wondering if perhaps the Cro-Magnons
had another offshoot: the Cro-Morons. It seems that I just keep running into them… Hey, if you learned something new today, then
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