In Search of the Neanderthals

In Search of the Neanderthals

Solving the Puzzle of Human Origins

Book - 1993
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Baker & Taylor
A survey of the current anthropological and archeological knowledge about Neanderthals examines their relationship to modern humans

Blackwell North Amer
Ever since the discovery of the bones of a pre-modern human in the Neander Valley, Germany, in 1856, the Neanderthals have provoked controversy. Who were these beetle-browed, heavy-limbed creatures, and how were they related to modern people? What caused their disappearance 35,000 years ago? Portrayed in endless cartoons and novels as club-wielding cavemen, the Neanderthals have become the archetype of all that is primitive and uncultured.
Today Neanderthal specialists are locked in one of the fiercest debates in modern science. One side, the "multiregional" school, argues that the Neanderthals and their contemporaries elsewhere evolved semi-independently into modern humans. The other side, the "out of Africa" school, believes that the Neanderthals were an evolutionary dead end, replaced by fully modern people coming ultimately from Africa. The latter camp, now gaining the upper hand, is led by Christopher Stringer. Here, in this long-awaited volume, he sets out his views for the first time, in conjunction with the archaeologist Clive Gamble.
Step by step the authors put their case. The Neanderthals had an anatomy crucially different from our own, adapted to the cold of Ice Age Europe. Neanderthal behavior, captured in the archaeological record, similarly points to fundamental differences. New genetic evidence strongly suggests a single origin for modern humans in Africa.
What, then, was the fate of the Neanderthals? Stringer and Gamble argue that, capable and intelligent as they were, they eventually proved no match for the better-organized, better-equipped newcomers. They did not evolve into modern humans: they simply died out.
This important study, incorporating a photographic catalogue of key fossil finds, provides the most up-to-date account of current knowledge about the Neanderthals and their world. For anthropologists, archaeologists, ecologists, evolutionary biologists, palaeontologists - for anyone interested in where we came from - it is essential reading.

Publisher: New York : Thames and Hudson, 1993
ISBN: 9780500050705
Characteristics: 247 p. : ill. ; 26 cm
Additional Contributors: Gamble, Clive


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