The Neanderthals Rediscovered by Dimitra Papagianni & Michael A. Morse

The Neanderthals Rediscovered: How Modern Science Is Rewriting Their Story - Dimitra Papagianni, Michael A.  Morse

TITLE:   The Neanderthals Rediscovered: How Modern Science is Rewriting Their Story


AUTHORS:  Dimitra Papagianni & Michael A. Morse


DATE PUBLISHED: 2015 [Revised and updated edition]


FORMAT:  Paperback


ISBN-13:  9780500292044




"In recent years, the common perception of the Neanderthals has been transformed, thanks to new discoveries and paradigm-shattering scientific innovations. It turns out that the Neanderthals’ behavior was surprisingly modern: they buried the dead, cared for the sick, hunted large animals in their prime, harvested seafood, and communicated with spoken language. Meanwhile, advances in DNA technologies are compelling us to reassess the Neanderthals’ place in our own past.

For hundreds of thousands of years, Neanderthals evolved in Europe parallel to Homo sapiens evolving in Africa, and, when both species made their first forays into Asia, the Neanderthals may even have had the upper hand. In this important volume, Dimitra Papagianni and Michael A. Morse compile the first full chronological narrative of the Neanderthals’ dramatic existence—from their evolution in Europe to their expansion to Siberia, their subsequent extinction, and ultimately their revival in popular novels, cartoons, cult movies, and television commercials.




This might be a (mostly) up to date book about neanderthals, but it focuses on the archaeological record (bones, sites, stone tools, dating of everything vaguely hominid) and relegates all the interesting stuff about Neanderthals (their life-style, diet, burial rituals, social interactions, technology, use of fire, clothing, anything related to DNA) to one superficial chapter at the end of the book.  Half the book focuses on the parallel evolution of homo sapiens and neanderthals, issues with fossil sites and dating, and telling the reader who dug up what and what they and everyone else thought about it.  While the book covers a variety of hypotheses about neanderthals and why they went extinct, it also leaves out the more interesting hypotheses (e.g. diseases, humans with hunting dogs).  The writing was dull and plodding,  a bit disorganized and too repetitive.    I didn't learn anything new about neanderthals that I hadn't already picked up from a variety of random internet articles.  In short, if you want to know about neanderthals, read the Wikipedia article and skip this book.