Homo neanderthalensis VS. Homo sapiens… Who will win?

According to Harari, the Cognitive Revolution was “the appearance of new ways of thinking and communicating, between 70,000 and 30,000 years ago” (21). Scientists aren’t sure what brought about the revolution, but scientists do know that the Cognitive Revolution allowed Sapiens to communicate in new ways. On the other side of the coin, the Agricultural Revolution was when “humans sowed seeds, watered plants, plucked weeds from the ground, and led sheep to prime pastures” (Harari, 77). In other words, the Agricultural Revolution was a period of domestication of plants and animals. In fact, most of the animals that the human race has domesticated, were domesticated around 2,000 years ago. So, what did these two revolutions mean for civilization? The Cognitive Revolution allowed for humans to communicate simple messages to each other such as, “danger”! As well as the ability for humans to speak about their day, and who did what to whom (Harari, 22). Perhaps most importantly though, the Cognitive Revolution allowed humans to invent fictional systems like religions, myths, and nations. Without those made up systems, Sapiens as a race would likely not be able to congregate in large groups like today’s modern metropolises (Harari, 27). The Agricultural Revolution allowed for a surplus of food. This surplus allowed people extra time to devote to creating new technologies, and written languages.

Harari explains that Homo Sapiens became dominant because of the cognitive revolution. The early Sapiens could think more complexly, and because of that, the Sapiens were able to conquer the other species such as Neanderthals. Harari gives arguments to the Sapiens dominance such as genetic mutations, luck of the draw, and the extremely advanced language of the Sapiens. Specifically, an advanced unique language which led to the Sapiens creating new myths, religions, and countries. The imagined orders created by an advanced language allow for people to band together in large community-oriented groups (Harari, 21). Personally, I find the argument of an advanced language to be the most probable cause of the Sapiens dominance over other species. There’s something that doesn’t sit well with me about the genetic mutation argument because I don’t believe a mutation could have been significant enough between the species.

One thought on “Homo neanderthalensis VS. Homo sapiens… Who will win?”

  1. I completely agree with your final statement about genetic mutation. Sure it might have played a part, but there’s no way it was significant enough to allow the homo sapiens to completely overtake the world. It had to have been their expanding minds that led them to success. The spark of knowledge these early humans acquired was beyond anything ever seen before, it was THE defining moment for man.

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