Suppose in a hypothetical situation I am able to somehow travel back in time, how would our extinct cousins react to me? I imagine our earliest ancesters (Australopithecus afarensis?) would behave much as primates do, but what about Homo erectus, Homo neanderthalensis or even Homo floresiensis and Cro-Magnons?
Thanks in advance for any answers.
Cro-Magnons are people, too.
I’m having a hard time imagining a factual answer for this question. We don’t have interviews to consult on the subject, you know.
They’d probably think to themselves “Hey, that guy’s forehead looks different! And he’s really bad at hunting.”
One author I’ve read (I’m doing a project on Neanderthals) said that our faces look more like the infants of earlier species than they do the adults. He suggest that we might almost appear cute to them.
However, there’s no way of figuring out a factual answer.
They’d probably either kill us horribly or worship us like gods.
I’m thinking that after an intial period of trying to reassure each other that we don’t mean any violence, we would begin trying to communicate.
How THAT would go I leave to the experts.
I thought it might have been possible to infer a reaction from what we know about how they treated each other (inter and intra species), if a mod could move this instead to the appropriate forum? Thanks.
Thing is, we really know very little about how they treated each other, especially intra-species realtionships. There are some theories but little in the way of solid evidence. The realtionship between Neadarthals and early man is of particular interest, why did we survive while they went extinct?
And, “That chick’s kinda funny looking and I don’t get why she wears so much clothing, but I’d do her.”
“I’m just a simple cave man. I don’t understand your ‘time travel’.”
But we don’t know ANYTHING about how they treated each other, “intra” that is.
That’s assuming they don’t mean any violence. But given that we are their descendants I’m prepared to bet they’d just eat us or nail us to trees or something. You just have to ask yourself how we’d react if we were introduced to our descendants who’d gone on, evolved interesting bone structures and bought into fancy new technology. We’d kick their arse is what we’d do. And then steal their spaceship and use it to blow things up.
There was a documentary on a short while ago about how this bloke reckons “modern” man didn’t wipe out the neanderthals, but because the ice age ended and there were lots of open plains, modern man found his niche 'cos he was better built for long runs tracking prey, whereas the neanderthals had been much happier hunting in forests.
Anyway they showed a bit where the neanderthals hid behind a rock while a Catweazle-style modern man ran past and threw a fancy new-fangled throwing-spear at some animals. They basically looked impressed. None of them seemed to fancy him much though.
Despite lots of suggestions that they might try to kill you that’s pretty unlikely. I’ve read a number of accounts of first contact with isolated hunter gatherers at various places around the world and it’s actually very rare that they try to kill strange people. That seems to be true worldwide, IN Australia for example the reactions to first contact with outsiders ranged from delights and amusement in Tasmania through initial caution in NSW and semi-hostility in Queensland. Even then though the hostility was apparently intended to drive the intruders off rather than making any serious attempt to kill them. Similarly HG people of the Chatham Islands, Tierra del Fuego and the Amazon seem to have been cautious but not immediately hostile.
Immediate hostility seems to be mostly restricted to agricultural people or those HGs who have had constant contact with HG people. IOW it’s a learned response to strangers, nit an innate part of human nature.
Based on all that I’d take a bet that early humans and hominids would react with curiosity and caution rather than any sort of hostility.