A self-educated scholar from Sydney has offered the world a new, significantly more gruesome picture of Neanderthal man.
After years of poring over more than 800 references, Danny Vendramini believes that Neanderthals were not our slow-minded predecessors at all, but that they were “apex predators” that counted our ancestors amongst their prey.
Vendramini’s Neanderthals were “aggressive, powerful and terrifying carnivores” that raped and cannibalized.
Vendramini suggests that the Neanderthal spent 50,000 years at the top of the food chain eating a diet that isytopic bone collagen analysis has suggests was 97% meat.
Their daily diet was nearly 2kg of meat – and it included human meat.
He suggests that bone relics at a number of European sites where human bones were neatly-dissected and lying among the bones of other animals provides evidence of their consumption of humans.
Vendramini speculates that “Neanderthal predation” almost resulted in the extinction of early humans the Mediterranean levant.
He takes the view that much of modern scientific thinking regarding Neanderthals is misguided:
Scientists have taken the view that they were more human-like but I think that is anthropomorphic thinking which sees them as like ourselves and disregards the evidence that they were cannibals.
So what did Neanderthal look like? Vendramini paints a grim picture, indicating that Eurasian Neanderthals weighed about 25 per cent more than humans and that they were well muscled with “arms like Arnold Schwarzenegger and legs like telegraph posts”. He further suggests that they were six-times stronger than modern humans.
He also contradicts widely held views on their aesthetic appearance:
They were primates and they would have looked like primates.
Vendramini believes that Cro-Magnon man began killing and also eating Neanderthals as they began their global migration which he describes as “a 20,000km blitzkrieg,” and “the first instance of evolution by genocide”.
It remains to be seen how the scientific community will react to the former filmmaker’s theories, which are detailed in his book Them and Us: How Neanderthal predation created modern humans (Kardoorair Press)