This is a very important aspect of the back story that I've been struggling to create.
The "smartest monkeys" went on to be the cleverest ones that could not only hunt rabbits and thrive, but come up with rituals and holidays and days free of worry. This is an important aspect of human development--we may have evolved with the cooperation of the various kinds of animals that evolved along with us in a more interdependent way than previously understood.
As the larger types of prey died off, the ability of early humans to survive may have depended on the inability of the Neanderthals to develop a clever method of catching small game. Brilliant stuff.