Hi Ed, John, Ravi, Gary,...
Rich AT EnglishLogicKernel DOT com
The bottom line is that
something happened around 50000 years ago, homo sapiens began to dominate,
apparently because of technical and cultural superiority, and the Neanderthals
and other hominids gradually disappeared over the next 20000 years, probably
because they could not compete. We know about some of the physiological
differences, and we suppose that symbolic thinking and language abilities may
have been associated with those differences. But there is also a lot of
evidence for the gradual nature of the evolution of these capabilities, and it may
well be that multiple small changes came together to produce effective
abilities, and social and environmental factors made them useful.
So the evidence is that somewhere between -300K and -30K, slight survival
advantages began to shift survival resources from the Neanderthals to the Cro-Magnons.
Over the 220K years in between, genetic gradients, and nurture resulting from
ever improving interpersonal communications, probably had the decisive hand
when times got tough.
It would be nice to know if the recently Hobbits had language, how much
language, and how useful their language skills might have been.