Neanderthals are hobbits.
- Short? Check.
- Stocky? Check.
- Omnivorous? Check.
- Tough as all hell? Check.
- Cave-dwelling? Check.
- Essentially human in the ways they think and act? Check.
I can easily see how, if Neanderthal Man had not died out, they might have cleaned up in much the same way as the humans they coexisted with. Their musculoskeletal system would have slimmed down and their brains continued to advance as their ecological niche increasingly selected for smarts rather than brawn. They could easily have stayed short and tough when compared to humans. Why develop an easy-going disposition? Why not?
Anyway, just a weird little thought that occured to me, and I'm eager to hear what you think of it (hence the creative prompt tag).