Did you know that some Neanderthals ground their own flour and that others made cave art? Or that scientists have created mini Neanderthal “brains” in their labs to see how they grow and develop? These are just a few of the latest discoveries in the ever-changing field of research into our closest human cousins.
Paleolithic archaeologist April Nowell, a professor of anthropology at the University of Victoria, Canada, leads a deep dive into the world of these ancestors. She offers an overview of the Neanderthals, beginning with their initial discovery and subsequent interpretation by scientists, and outlines our current understanding of who they were both biologically and culturally.
Nowell examines the Neanderthals’ relationship with Homo sapiens and another human cousin, the Denisovans; the reasons for their extinction in the Middle East and Europe; and why thousands of years after the last Neanderthals disappeared from the Earth, they continue to engender great interest, and even emotion, among scientists and the public.