Essay about Biases And Flawed Arguments : What 's A Mother

791 Words Apr 5th, 2016 4 Pages
Biases and Flawed Arguments: in S. L. Kuhn and M. C. Stiner’s ‘What’s a Mother to Do?’

by Michael K. R. Wood
Word count: 549
ARCA3100: Critical Studies in World Prehistory Since Neanderthals were first discovered, archaeologists and anthropologists have fiercely debated the reason for their disappearance. Kuhn and Stiner’s (2006) paper, “What’s a Mother to Do?” presents a novel hypothesis describing how unlike anatomically modern humans (AMH) who developed a division of labour between the sexes during the Upper Palaeolithic, Neanderthal men and women primarily focussed on hunting big game. The authors argue the Neanderthals less efficient extraction of subsistence resources from their environment, as compared to the newly competing AMH population, resulted in their extinction. The hypothesis is supported with data on Neanderthal diet, osteoarchaeological interpretations illustrating hunting behaviours, and a lack of evidence for specialised manufacturing roles. This critique contends that Kuhn and Stiner (2006) selectively presented literature supporting their theory while ignoring discrepant data, and additionally made assumptions influenced by cognitive bias.

The following points challenge the authors’ interpretations and selective presentment of data:

• To explain why AMH developed labour division, Kuhn and Stiner (2006) propose that such complementary subsistence roles were likely to develop in warm areas with ecological diversity offering…

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