NeanderthalsRediscoveredWhat Does it Mean to Be Human?

5stars

By Dimitra Papagianni & Michael A. Morse
Thames & Hudson, $29.95, 208 pages

Much speculation and misinformation exists about Neanderthals, but what does recent research and the latest scientific innovation reveal about them? Dimitra Papagianni and Michael A. Moore delve into this, discussing the surprisingly modern behavior of Neanderthals, in their book, The Neanderthals Rediscovered: How Modern Science is Rewriting Their Story.

From the first humans to the caricatures about Stone Age man, The Neanderthals Rediscovered covers a swath of early human history, concentrating on Neanderthals, and the archaeological record of some Homo species in Europe. Were the Neanderthals the victors over other species? Were they bred out of existence or overthrown? Papagianni and Moore discuss this as well, along with what can be inferred about daily life, Neanderthal spread and decline, and their legacy to modern culture.

“Part of the enjoyment for us, and we hope for you, is to use the available evidence to put together a plausible story.”

This is definitely a book for everyone with interest in human origins, with an emphasis on the Neanderthal perspective. It reads less like a textbook and more like a novel, simultaneously informing the scholar but not talking down to the lay person. Rather than being given facts and figures, it feels as though the reader is interacting with the author and sharing in the love for exploration of human origins and exuberance of discovery.

Reviewed by Axie Barclay

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