Free Trade Did In Neanderthals


Although this new article appearing in the Journal of Economic Organization and Behavior argues that free trade among our ancestors helped push Homo neanderthalensis to extinction, there is reason to doubt that all Neanderthals have disappeared.

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  1. Cool article. Although, if I read the abstract correctly, the title seems a bit misleading. It seems the lack of trade and division of labor did in the Neanderthals. The title, it seems, implies engaging in free trade caused their extinction. Big difference.

  2. Yes, good article, terribly misleading title.

    “Did free-trade help the early modern humans outlast their Neanderthal neighbors?”

    Heh I should suggest “outlast, outwit, outplay”

  3. Ironchef,

    Not having read the article, I can’t say whether the author mentions this, but some researchers claim that Homo neanderthalensis bred into the encroaching population of Homo sapiens.

  4. Yes, I’m a student of human history, and it appears that homo sapiens sapiens existed along with neanderthals. Whether that was co-existence, or whether each drove the other off and occupied the space is mere speculation.

    Non indigenous artifacts are found at homo sapiens sapiens sites, suggesting the free trade alluded to in the article. But it also could represent souveniers of far away pillage and plunder.

    Since it’s all speculation, I’ll speculate that neanderthals didn’t learn how to use drugs and alcohol ? things that we have proof early homo sapiens sapiens figured out.

  5. GG – Can’t remember where, but I seem to recall some DNA testing done on some East Euopeans (?) which disproved a link between homo sapiens sapiens and homo neanderthalensis.

  6. saw-whet,

    Yeah, I think it was a Nova or Discovery Channel show which mentioned those tests. The second article Ronald Bailey links to disputes those findings, calling them something like “seriously flawed.”

    Great…it looks like it’s going to take more reading and study to get a better picture.

  7. The article concludes Homo neanderthalensis lacked a whole range of behaviors that would’ve been a prerequisite to engaging in free trade and the lack of them gave the advantage to H. sapiens sapiens.
    Obviously, trade has been very important throughout human history, but to call it “free trade”? At that point in time – what other kind of trade was there?
    And if there were some kind of Grand Poobah regulating trade, how would we know?

  8. Great, one more thing for Lou Dobbs to yammer about.

  9. For some reason, I misread the title as “Free Trade Did In Netherlands.” Damn you, dyslexia!

  10. Humans RULE! Neanderthals can suck it!

    There no magnon like a cro magnon, baby!

  11. Free Trade or Die!

    I agree that the article is great and that its title sucked. Should have been something like, “Free trade helped our ancestors outcompete Neanderthals.”

  12. SPD,

    I read it that way too. Must have been the beer…

  13. recent article in The Scientist reports on a new scientific fraud regarding dates of human fossil remains and plagiarism, so everything you thought you knew is now crap until they get it sorted out

  14. SPD,
    Me three.

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