What do we really know about our cousins, the Neanderthals?
For over a century we saw Neanderthals as inferior to Homo sapiens. More recently, the pendulum swung the other way and they are generally seen as our relatives: not quite human, but similar enough, and still not equal. Now, thanks to an ongoing revolution in palaeoanthropology in which he has played a key part, Ludovic Slimak shows us that they are something altogether different – and they should be understood on their own terms rather than by comparing them to ourselves. As he reveals in this stunning book, the Neanderthals had their own history, their own rituals, their own customs. Their own intelligence, very different from ours.
Slimak has travelled around the world for the past thirty years to uncover who the Neanderthals really were. A modern-day Indiana Jones, he takes us on a fascinating archaeological investigation: from the Arctic Circle to the deep Mediterranean forests, he traces the steps of these enigmatic creatures, working to decipher their real stories through every single detail they left behind.
A thought-provoking adventure story, written with wit and verve, The Naked Neanderthal shifts our understanding of deep history – and in the process reveals just how much we have yet to learn.
Originally published in 2022 in French as Néandertal Nu: Comprendre la Créature Humaine by Odile Jacob.
Ludovic Slimak is a paleoanthropologist at the University of Toulouse in France and Director of the Grotte Mandrin research project. His work focuses on the last Neanderthal societies and he is the author of several hundred scientific studies on these populations. His research has been featured in Nature, Science, The New York Times and more. The Naked Neanderthal was published to great acclaim in France in 2022.