Neanderthal Hardcover – 20 Oct 2000
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If only all books-of-the-television-series were as good as Douglas Palmer's Neanderthal. Channel 4 is rapidly establishing itself as the standard-bearer in this particular genre, with spin-off publications that combine traditional glossy production with intelligent and authoritative writing. Palmer tells the story of the fascinating extinct humans of the title with great clarity and simplicity, while managing to convey much of the depth and subtlety of the academic discipline of palaeoanthropology.
Beginning with a 28-page chapter entitled "How do we know what we know?", the historical and scientific fundamentals are well established before the book embarks on interpretations of the Neanderthal's ice-age world, the physical appearance of these remarkable people, their individual and social behaviours, reproductive characteristics, cultural practices, tool-making skills, relationships in time and space with expanding Cro-Magnon human populations, and the Neanderthals' ultimate decline to extinction. The last chapter brings the subject right up to date with recent genetic research that looks set to revolutionise our understanding of modern humans and our relationships with our evolutionary cousins and ancestors. There isn't a chapter that isn't fascinating and thought provoking. A perfect gift for the serious-minded reader. --Chris Lavers
From the Author
I would like to reply to a reader's review of my book Neanderthal, which criticises it for having a Eurocentric view. The book was commissioned to accompany a TV series of the same name, which specifically looked at the Neanderthals in a Western European context and dealt with the contact between the Neanderthals and the incoming Cro-Magnon modern humans (Homo sapiens) who had originated in Africa around a 100,000 years ago and reached Western Europe around 40,000 years ago. To give the context for this story I gave something of the historical background to the discovery of Neanderthals in Western Europe and their origins. Consequently, the Eurasian story was beyond my remit. My main concern was to present the Neanderthals and the arguments about them in as fair a way as possible. This is an ongoing and very interesting story that I hope to return to at some point in the future. I am sorry if this particular reader was disappointed but I hope my explanation is satisfactory
Top customer reviews
The text, with a forward by renouned expert Dr Christopher Stringer, is clearly written and it is illustrated richly throughout with pictures from the series
This is a useful refrence work for anybody generally intrested in this subject or in the prehistoric world as a whole!
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