But there's an alternate theory:
A rival hypothesis proposed by Richard Klein of Stanford University holds that some cognitive advance like the perfection of language underlay the burst of innovative behavior shown by Upper Paleolithic people and their predecessors in Africa.Does this say anything about us? As you think about yourself and what we are, does it make any difference if the truth is as Kuhn and Stiner have it or as Klein does?
Why did the Neanderthals fail to adapt when modern humans arrived on their doorstep? Under Dr. Klein’s hypothesis, the reason is simply that they were cognitively less advanced.
IN THE COMMENTS: Madison Man says: "I'm guessing that cognitively less advanced is anthrospeak for dumber. It must be too judgemental to call Neanderthals stupid -- even though that's what the adjective means!" It's funny that we feel that it's wrong to disrespect the Neanderthal. But I have that feeling!
ADDED: UW anthro professor John Hawks is reading the the Kuhn-Stiner paper. He comments:
[T]en years ago, we were arguing about whether Neandertals could hunt at all, or whether instead they were ineffective scavengers depending on carnivore handouts.
I suppose those days must be behind us, because now we read Neandertals were such committed big game hunters that they needed their females and kids to hunt along with them, which fatally compromised their ability to find and exploit small animals and plant foods.
Apparently it took some tropical mojo to make modern women realize they could eat plant foods like every other primate.