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An engrossing introduction to the Neanderthals, setting them in the context of human evolution and prehistory, and of broader ecological and environmental history. Arsuaga, a leading palaeoanthropologist, touches nimbly on anatomy, demographics, systematics, evolutionary psychology, philosophy of mind and more. He focuses on his native Spain and to some extent on his own digs, without becoming autobiographical.
Prologue. Part 1: Shadows of the Past. Chapter 1: The Solitary Species. Chapter 2: The Human Paradox. Chapter 3: The Neanderthals. Part 2: Life in the Ice Age. Chapter 4: The Animated Forest. Chapter 5: The Reindeer Are Coming! Chapter 6: The Great Extinction. Part 3: The Storytellers. Chapter 7: A Poisoned Gift. Chapter 8: Children of the Fire. Chapter 9: And the World Was Made Transparent. Epilogue: Domesticated Man. Afterword. In Memoriam. Acknowledgments. Bibliography. Index.
Juan Luis Arsuaga is a Palaeoanthropologist and Professor of Human Palaeontology in Madrid, Visiting Professor at University College, London, and co--director of excavations at Sierra de Atapuerca (a World Heritage Site). Dr Arsuaga's work there and the discovery of Homo antecessor has transformed the history of human evolution and won him the Premio Principe de Asturias in 1997. A member of the American National Academy of Sciences, he is a regular contributor to Nature, Science, and the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, and was editor of the Journal of Human Evolution.
...He certainly knows his stuff...necessary evolutionary and environmental background to this complex story, all well told for the general reader... (New Scientist, 11 January 2003) "...a splendid read...this book will be much admired and valued by academics and those who want an informative account of the human past..." (Fortean Times, May 2003) "...this is good reference work that will benefit students and researchers..." (Focus, September 2003) "...his book proves a valuable counter to accounts relegating this group to a peripheral role..."AC (Times Higher Education Supplement, 6 February 2004) "...I praise Arsuaga for his commitment to all aspects of human and social sciences and for this synthesis that is relevant to the aspirations of every extant culture." (Endevour, March 2004) "a very good and up--to--date introduction to the evolution of consciousness." (Journal of The Royal Anthropological Institute, September 2004)