Gosh, we thought they’d earn that rep for killing the two-step snake.
From (where else?) New Scientist, we learn:
Neanderthals had the brains and guile to catch and eat birds, a skill many had assumed was beyond them. Bones found in Gibraltar suggest Neanderthals hunted wild pigeons, possibly by climbing steep cliffs to reach their nests.
“Neanderthals were seen as too brutish to catch fast prey,” says Clive Finlayson of the Gibraltar Museum. He and his colleagues studied 1724 bones of rock doves, the wild ancestors of domestic pigeons, from Gorham’s Cave in Gibraltar, a trove of Neanderthal relics.
In other words, Neanderthals raided mass nests. In later times, all humans (probably including Neanderthals) simply transported the birds and nests to hen coops. Saved a long climb.
Birds don’t seem to care. Actually, they like it, because humans dispense food and water freely, and drive off hostile canines.
If you are a hen bird, you have what ambitions exactly that interfere with that?
Re our Neanderthal ancestors, see also:
Neanderthal Man: The long-lost relative turns up again, this time with documents and
A deep and abiding need for Neanderthals to be stupid. Why?