A decisive split took place more than 600,000 years ago when humanity was divided. A part remained in Africa, where modern humans appeared. The others traveled to Asia and Europe, and are known as Neanderthals, a sister species that evolved at the same time.
Neanderthals have been a source of fascination for researchers as they offer a glimpse of what humanity might have been. While some perceive them as peaceful people who lived in harmony with nature, it seems that this is far from being the case.
Research has revealed that Neanderthals were skilled hunters and warriors that excelled at capturing large prey, as they work together. As in the case of other big-game hunters, the lack of major rivals led to overpopulation and open conflicts for the best hunting grounds.
Fights for territories can be traced in humans and even chimpanzees, which are deemed to be our closest relatives. Studies have shown that male chimps are quite territorial and more than willing to work as a team to kill rivals from other groups, a strategy that was also used by humans.
A club to the head
Both humans and Neanderthals were determined to protect their homes and lands from anything that seemed like a threat. Many favored clubs, since they were easy to use and able to cause serious damage when the head is struck, a theory confirmed by a large number of human and Neanderthal skulls that feature signs of severe damage.
Neanderthals were also able to withstand the expansion of modern humans by 100,000 years, preventing the latter from leaving Africa earlier. While the humans and Neanderthals mingled at some point, it is likely that early contacts led to major fights as both were interested in land and suitable hunting grounds.
Advanced weapons, better combat tactics and the use of modern tools allowed Homo Sapiens to win the fight in the end.