On a single fairly sizeable continent live two intelligent species. Regular humans, and a species of intelligent wolf-people.
The latter aren't actually descended from wolves, but a wolf-like social plains carnivore. Think carnivorous wolf-baboons. They're every bit as intelligent as humans, and have retained opposable thumbs from their ancient arboreal ancestry allowing for advanced tool use.
In order to answer the question, we'll take snapshots of 3 time periods in technological development. The first is pre-historic hunter-gatherer stone-age (or early pottery-age, which should definitely be a separate time period as far as I'm concerned). The second is classical antiquity (so established agriculture for humans allowing a sizeable population, but iron-age technology). The third is early-industrial (pike-and-shot era).
The principle difference between humans and our wolf-baboon people is that the latter evolved as hypercarnivores (>70% of diet consists of meat).
What I've learnt from this is that societies of hypercarnivores would likely be massively outclassed by us as soon as we discover agriculture, allowing us to sustain a (relatively) stable, sizeable population and overwhelm them with a tide of numerous unhealthy mooks. Reason being that dependency on meat is less efficient at supporting a large population than agriculture, and more prone to population crashes as game reserves are depleted.
It's also suggested that the early sizeable populations of an intelligent hypercarnivore would likely develop around coastal fishing communities as the sea is both a larger and more stable source of protein than land. The likely early spread of hypercarnivore populations will be sizeable coastal settlements and interior pastoralists (most likely similar to steppe-nomads or plains native americans). The pastoralists will probably pretty quickly domesticate prey-species and develop animal husbandry.
So, the question would be, what tweaks would we need to make to our hypercarnivores (either biologically or socio-culturally) to allow them to compete with regular humans in each of the three time-periods mentioned earlier?
The first thing I was thinking is that our intelligent wolf-baboons will need to secure a source of protein that keeps their livestock alive. Eggs might be a great source, as could bloodletting. I'd also expect adult milk tolerance might be a significant enough advantage to allow it to spread throughout the population.
The second thing I was thinking is that hypercarnivore doesn't necessarily mean obligate carnivore. By definition, up to 30% of their diet can be plant-based, allowing for limited agriculture. My prior research into hypercarnivore plant-eating has shown two things:
- Hypercarnivores often eat fruit and tubors to supplement their diet.
- A lot of well-meaning dog owners are subjecting their pets to vegetarian diets with little empirical evidence to support them.
This means that potentially our hypercarnivore species may yet develop limited agriculture, and potentially gravitate towards more of a mesocarnivorous diet in their own version of the agricultural revolution.
So, do you think these tweaks would be sufficient to allow our hypercarnivores to compete with humanity, and which additional tweaks might be made that allow them to do so better?
Any questions, or if it's too broad, please let me know!