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"Kindred is important reading not just for anyone interested in these ancient cousins of ours, but also for anyone interested in humanity."--The New York Times Book Review "[A] bold and magnificent attempt to resurrect our Neanderthal kin."--The Wall Street Journal In Kindred, Neanderthal expert Rebecca Wragg Sykes shoves aside the cliché of the shivering ragged figure in an "Kindred is important reading not just for anyone interested in these ancient cousins of ours, but also for anyone interested in humanity."--The New York Times Book Review "[A] bold and magnificent attempt to resurrect our Neanderthal kin."--The Wall Street Journal In Kindred, Neanderthal expert Rebecca Wragg Sykes shoves aside the cliché of the shivering ragged figure in an icy wasteland, and reveals the Neanderthal you don’t know, our ancestor who lived across vast and diverse tracts of Eurasia and survived through hundreds of thousands of years of massive climate change. This book sheds new light on where they lived, what they ate, and the increasingly complex Neanderthal culture that researchers have discovered. Since their discovery 150 years ago, Neanderthals have gone from the losers of the human family tree to A-list hominins. Our perception of the Neanderthal has changed dramatically, but despite growing scientific curiosity, popular culture fascination, and a wealth of coverage in the media and beyond are we getting the whole story? The reality of 21st century Neanderthals is complex and fascinating, yet remains virtually unknown and inaccessible outside the scientific literature. Based on the author’s first-hand experience at the cutting-edge of Palaeolithic research and theory, this easy-to-read but information-rich book lays out the first full picture we have of the Neanderthals, from amazing new discoveries changing our view of them forever, to the more enduring mysteries of how they lived and died, and the biggest question of them all: their relationship with modern humans.


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"Kindred is important reading not just for anyone interested in these ancient cousins of ours, but also for anyone interested in humanity."--The New York Times Book Review "[A] bold and magnificent attempt to resurrect our Neanderthal kin."--The Wall Street Journal In Kindred, Neanderthal expert Rebecca Wragg Sykes shoves aside the cliché of the shivering ragged figure in an "Kindred is important reading not just for anyone interested in these ancient cousins of ours, but also for anyone interested in humanity."--The New York Times Book Review "[A] bold and magnificent attempt to resurrect our Neanderthal kin."--The Wall Street Journal In Kindred, Neanderthal expert Rebecca Wragg Sykes shoves aside the cliché of the shivering ragged figure in an icy wasteland, and reveals the Neanderthal you don’t know, our ancestor who lived across vast and diverse tracts of Eurasia and survived through hundreds of thousands of years of massive climate change. This book sheds new light on where they lived, what they ate, and the increasingly complex Neanderthal culture that researchers have discovered. Since their discovery 150 years ago, Neanderthals have gone from the losers of the human family tree to A-list hominins. Our perception of the Neanderthal has changed dramatically, but despite growing scientific curiosity, popular culture fascination, and a wealth of coverage in the media and beyond are we getting the whole story? The reality of 21st century Neanderthals is complex and fascinating, yet remains virtually unknown and inaccessible outside the scientific literature. Based on the author’s first-hand experience at the cutting-edge of Palaeolithic research and theory, this easy-to-read but information-rich book lays out the first full picture we have of the Neanderthals, from amazing new discoveries changing our view of them forever, to the more enduring mysteries of how they lived and died, and the biggest question of them all: their relationship with modern humans.

30 review for Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art

  1. 4 out of 5

    Clif Hostetler

    This book presents a thorough description of the current knowledge that has been developed about Neanderthals. Any reader who begins this book with the smug impression that it's about an inferior branch of the human family will soon learn that Archaeologist and science writer Rebecca Wragg Sykes believes otherwise. If there's one core message that comes through this book, it is that Neanderthal's cognitive skills were equal to that of Homo sapiens. Their hunting and tool making skills permitted This book presents a thorough description of the current knowledge that has been developed about Neanderthals. Any reader who begins this book with the smug impression that it's about an inferior branch of the human family will soon learn that Archaeologist and science writer Rebecca Wragg Sykes believes otherwise. If there's one core message that comes through this book, it is that Neanderthal's cognitive skills were equal to that of Homo sapiens. Their hunting and tool making skills permitted them to adapt to widely varied climates over a period of 350,000 years in locations ranging from Western Europe to the steppes of Central Asia to the fringes of the Arabian dessert. Their problem solving skills appear to have been on par with contemporaneous Homo sapiens. Through the process of describing what is known about Neanderthals the book also reveals the power of recently developed scientific methods that permit paleontologists and archaeologists to extract amazing details regarding the lives of Neanderthals. DNA analysis has revealed ancient secrets, the findings of which would have previously been unfathomable. In particular it has shown that a portion of Neanderthal DNA continues to live within most of today's human population as 2% to 4% of their genome. In addition to the DNA information, I was amazed to learn what can be learned from careful analysis of baby teeth taken from collections of Neanderthal remains. From the teeth scientists were able to estimate the probable number of times that a particular group changed living locations during a year's time, and they were also able to determine the age at which the child was weaned (and if the weaning was gradual or sudden). I was also amazed at the attention to detail demonstrated by researchers when they digitized the dimensional shapes and size of numerous knapping waste pieces in order to have the computer figure out the shape and size of spearheads taken from the site. Furthermore, the explanations of knapping methods included in this book are probably more detailed than what some readers have patience to read. Nevertheless, it is made clear that knapping is a skill that requires much knowledge and practice and most likely required intergenerational teaching. Neanderthals had flatter foreheads than Homo sapiens with less space for the frontal cortex which is intimately connected to memory and language. But computer modeling suggests that their vocal cords could make a range of sounds similar to ours. Also, their overall brain size was larger on average than that of modern humans. It’s true that there are no examples of representational art have been found created by Neanderthals. However, neither are there examples of representational art among Homo sapiens prior to 45,000 years ago. Neanderthals in many places used a variety of pigments and may have ornamented themselves with feathers. Examples of using mixtures of tree resin and beeswax to make an adhesive have been found. One group engraved a cross-hatched grid pattern on the floor of Gorham’s Cave, Gibraltar. Among their more mysterious creations are two rings of snapped off stalagmites, arranged on the chamber floor of a cave near the French village of Bruniquel, dating to about 177,000 years ago. The reason(s) why the Neanderthal population died out is not entirely clear. The encroachment of Homo sapiens may have out competed them, but there's an element of luck involved in determining species survival. For example, some paleontologist theorized that there was a near extinction of Homo sapiens about 70,000 years ago. Also, the first Homo sapiens to settle in Europe after the Neanderthal can be considered as extinct as the Neanderthal because most of the genome of modern day Europeans is descended from ancient north Eurasians who later migrated from the east. (Today's Sardinians are the closest relatives to ancestral Europeans because the mixing with north Eurasians didn't reach them.) I found the following excerpt from the book of special interest because it discusses the genome advantages that may have been inherited from the Neanderthals (Sub-Saharan Africans excepted). I've placed it within the spoiler link to keep this review from appearing to be ridiculously long. (view spoiler)[ Genes from the Neanderthal and Denisovan make up a substantial portion of the small active part of our genome. Some it most certainly helped us. This is very much cutting edge science, and so current knowledge of what this means for our bodies, health, or even minds is still ragtag. Studies matching an individuals Neanderthal pedigree with their medical records has suggested links with digestive problems, urinary infections, diabetes, and over clotting of blood. Inventing evolutionary explanations for these is tempting, but researchers are at the very start of understanding how particular genes function in us, never mind how archaic versions may have worked. It’s also important not to forget that just like our own genome many Neanderthal genes recopied randomly and were potentially mutual in their effects. There may be some cases however where the change we ended up inheriting makes sense in regard to the unfamiliar Eurasian world that Homosapians entered. Without question dispersing populations would have encountered new pathogens, not only diseases but also bacteria. Living people with dual ancestry from the Neanderthal and Denisovans seem to have preferred the Neanderthal version of some genes involved in skin defenses against infections. Similarly, a gene protecting us against bacteria that cause stomach ulcers came across from both Neanderthals and Denisovans. But people carrying two Neanderthal versions have extra resistance. Eurasia projected other challenges for Homo sapiens without hundreds of millennia of adapting to its lower levels of UV and seasonal winter darkness. East Asians and Europeans share Neanderthal versions of keratin versions of genes that make hair, nails, and skin. It’s possible that they were more useful than forms we had developed in tropical environments. But on the other hand Neanderthals had diverse hair and skin pigment so things must have been complex. Body clock genes are another area where we kept Neanderthal versions, and this is likely to do with the fact that circadian rhythms are strongly linked to day length and light levels. Perhaps Neanderthals passed on something that helped Homo sapiens learn to cope with the long dark winters. Adjusting to colder climates would have been a major issue, and even if bodies were buffered by clothing Neanderthals genetics might have helped us too. Some of their surviving genetics in our bodies is connected to metabolism and therefore to thermal efficiencies. One gene effects how fats move into cells giving carriers today a higher risk of type two diabetes. But in hunter gatherers this may have helped with energy management, and coping with starvation situations. Something similar might also explain genes promoting fatness and another connected with addiction. Once these could have been advantageous in encouraging consumption of feel good fat rich foods. Large sways of our genome have no contribution of Neanderthal contributions which may mean that what we already had was worth keeping. Was this because the Neanderthal version were also bad for them? In general their DNA doesn’t seem to appear dodgier, but some riskier variants have been identified. One case relates to pollution. Hearths and even micro-charcoal in the Neanderthal dental calculus tell us they sometimes lived in smoky situations. A mutation in all living people makes us between one hundred to one thousand times less susceptible to smoke and charred food toxicity. Since inhaling smoke from open fires or poorly vented stoves is the main cause of death globally in children under five years old, this is no small issue. Another example of possible inferiority in Neanderthal genes is fertility. The parts of our genome relating to X and Y chromosomes have a clear lack of Neanderthal contributions. And at least one Neanderthal male … carried three forms of genes that today are linked to miscarriages of males fetuses. This led to speculation that hybrids were more likely to be female and even that mixed children could have genetic disadvantages. But as geneticists have spent decades learning, DNA doesn’t behave in simple ways. Genes are often more like herbs and spices in a recipe, their flavors varying depending on the other ingredients and the method of cooking. As research advances on how genes of living people work we’ll be able to tell more nuanced stories about Neanderthal legacies in our bodies. The same is true of minds. Identifying DNA markers for cognitive differences in Neanderthals has long been a key aim of ancient genetics. Could there really have been a lightbulb moment when some genetic mutation or combination greatly increases Homo sapiens toward more formalized artistic traditions or flashy burials? Again the reality is inconveniently uncertain. Some Neanderthal genes we inherited are involved in basic brain functions like energy management. But socially expressed differences are the key issue. Living people with particular Neanderthal genes may have higher rates of mood disorders or depression. Yet the effect is tiny in statistical terms, and we don’t know if those genes functioned identically in the past. Particularly interesting are the Neanderthal versions of genes that effect brain structure. Some seem involved with expanding the back of the skull building greater amounts of brain matter and more intense surface evolving. If the Neanderthal version still exists in people today, then they either didn’t affect the survivability of hybrids and their offspring or they were advantageous. (hide spoiler)]

  2. 4 out of 5

    Krista

    Look through shadows, listen beyond echoes; they have much to tell. Not only of other ways to be human, but new eyes to see ourselves. The most glorious thing about the Neanderthals is that they belong to all of us, and they're no dead-end, past-tense phenomenon. They are right here. In my hands typing and your brain understanding my words. Read on, and meet your kindred. According to her own website, Dr Rebecca Wragg Sykes is an archaeologist, writer and “creative professional”, with an espe Look through shadows, listen beyond echoes; they have much to tell. Not only of other ways to be human, but new eyes to see ourselves. The most glorious thing about the Neanderthals is that they belong to all of us, and they're no dead-end, past-tense phenomenon. They are right here. In my hands typing and your brain understanding my words. Read on, and meet your kindred. According to her own website, Dr Rebecca Wragg Sykes is an archaeologist, writer and “creative professional”, with an especial interest in the ancient world of the Palaeolithic, and whose doctoral thesis was the first synthesis of evidence for late Neanderthals in Britain. With such impressive credentials, stated interests in creative writing and the highlighting of women in earth sciences, it's not a surprise that I found Kindred to be such an impressive read; Wragg Sykes not only relates the entire history of Neanderthal research, but in engaging prose, she explains why the story of these hominid cousins should matter to us humans today. I loved all of this, beginning to end. (Note: I read an ARC through NetGalley and passages quoted may not be in their final forms.) Amid ancient surfaces densely spangled by myriad artefacts, fireplaces are like archaeological wormholes, bridging the impossible chasms of time separating us from long-vanished dwellers. As researchers encircle hearths, excavating, their presence is like an afterglow of human attention, reanimating empty spaces. Time collapses, and it's almost as if our fingers reaching out might graze the warmth of Neaderthal skin, sitting right there beside us. Wragg Sykes shares how evolving scientific techniques have enabled archaeologists to learn an incredible amount about Neanderthal customs and culture, and while my eyes sometimes glazed over with all of the information about flakes and discoids and bifaces, knapped here and carried there – astounding toolmaking evidence that nonetheless became a bit repetitive to this lay reader – I was truly blown away by the microscopic and atomic research that can not only show where, say from a single tooth, a Neanderthal child was born and moved throughout her days, but through the examination of minuscule growth patterns, which were seasons of want or plenty in that shortened life. It all made me think about how much information has been lost over the years because of archaeologists excavating sites before they had the technology to properly preserve the integrity of those sites (which then made me wonder what mistakes future scientists will accuse our generation of making), but I was fascinated by the idea that currently, sites are 3D-mapped by lasers before digging begins and archaeologists have been able to retrieve millions of Neanderthal artefacts from the “rubbish heaps” left behind by those Victorian Age pioneers who sought only bone and obvious tools. While minds create things, things also create minds in a manner that extends far beyond the individual or even the generation, and can transform whole species. For Neanderthals, new experience or encounters opened up fresh ways of thinking about the world. It's not a stretch to suggest that their technological innovations probably impacted other aspects of their lives. Composite tools are a case in point; the inherent process of joining together must have reinforced concepts of connectedness and collaboration, crucial for hunting and social networks. And since composite tools are made up of materials connecting different places and times, these objects had a unique capacity to act as potent mnemonics, expanding the vistas of memory and imagination. I also appreciate how Wragg Sykes attempts to revive the Neanderthal mind – with a culture and anatomy much like those of early Homo sapiens (including a brain slightly larger, if differently shaped, than ours), these were no knuckle-dragging brutes; there is evidence that they made art, ornaments, shared their food communally, and participated in funerary practises. There is also no doubt that Neanderthals and early humans interbred (all people except those of Sub-Saharan lineage have Neanderthal DNA) and Wragg Sykes writes that's there's no reason to believe these weren't the couplings of fellow humans who recognised each other as related beings. By 20,000 years ago, we were alone on the surface of this planet. Nonetheless, the Neanderthals still lived, after a fashion. Even as our encounters fell out of all memory, our blood and our babies still contain the fruits of interactions with the universe's other experiments in being human. Bones and stones long waited underground for us to rediscover our shared future. And when we finally did, everything changed. Wragg Sykes makes a compelling case for embracing Neanderthals into the human family – not only because “othering” has led to the worst of the ways we humans have treated each other throughout history, but because of some disturbing experiments being done today with Neanderthal DNA: putting the DNA into frogs to try and discover Neanderthals' pain response; putting the DNA into humanoid robots; there's no reason to believe these aren't the first steps on the road to Unfrozen Caveman Lawyers, and is all of this in keeping with the dignity and respect that we purport to reserve for our fellow humans? From the Victorian spelunkers whose discoveries shook their cosy worldviews to the precision data revealed in modern laboratories, the history of Neanderthal research is a fascinating one; and with evocative and empathetic storytelling, Wragg Sykes reanimates these long-forgotten ancestors. Kindred is an engrossing story, told well.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Inderjit Sanghera

    Sykes combined elegiacal prose with ecstatic reverence, as she explores, unearths and allows us to discover everything about Neanderthals, from their social structures, to their toolmaking capabilities and how the reared their children, the panoply of Neanderthal life is capture within the pages of ‘Kindred’. Inevitably, given the sheer variety of topics Sykes explores, some readers will be more interested in certain aspects of Neanderthal life than others and whilst I found the detailed descript Sykes combined elegiacal prose with ecstatic reverence, as she explores, unearths and allows us to discover everything about Neanderthals, from their social structures, to their toolmaking capabilities and how the reared their children, the panoply of Neanderthal life is capture within the pages of ‘Kindred’. Inevitably, given the sheer variety of topics Sykes explores, some readers will be more interested in certain aspects of Neanderthal life than others and whilst I found the detailed descriptions of their toolmaking slightly dry, what was far more interesting was her exploration of their culture and social structures, from their potential rituals around burying their dead, to the likelihood of them cannibalising loved ones they had lost as a mark of remembrance or of the social dynamics which existed as hunter gatherers, much of which echoes the dynamics of human hunter gatherer societies. Indeed a common thread which runs through ‘Kindred’ is that Neanderthals are often given a bad rep for being brutish, stupid and violent when they were anything but and many of their behaviours closely resembles humans. Sykes is keen on us seeing the world from outside the lens of egocentricity, but instead wants our perspective to shift to a more symbiotic one, where we see ourselves as being the small part of a greater whole and just another spoke in the wheel of life within which we have existed for such a short space of time. Like all great scientists, Sykes sees the all of the uncertainty she has to work through as a chance to provide potential answers rather than as wading through the mud and this comes out in the sheer excitement Sykes demonstrates throughout the book as she takes the reader on an unforgettable journey into the lives of our long-lost relatives

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bevan

    Dr. Sykes has written an enthralling book about our distant cousins, who it turns out were more like us than we might think. Firstly, Rebecca Wragg Sykes writes like an angel. Each chapter has a short introductory elegiac reflection on the information which follows, and these are written with the skill of a poet. These pieces make the book a joy to read. And then there is the text itself: the amount of detail amassed by the scientists who investigate these ancient relatives of ours is just astou Dr. Sykes has written an enthralling book about our distant cousins, who it turns out were more like us than we might think. Firstly, Rebecca Wragg Sykes writes like an angel. Each chapter has a short introductory elegiac reflection on the information which follows, and these are written with the skill of a poet. These pieces make the book a joy to read. And then there is the text itself: the amount of detail amassed by the scientists who investigate these ancient relatives of ours is just astounding. Dr. Sykes describes the research and methods used to analyze the sites where Neanderthal remains are found, and why each tiny scrap (literally) can be important. For instance, did you know that these Neanderthal cousins of ours probably picked their teeth with tiny sticks? Or that the calculus on their teeth can show us what kinds of food they ate? All of this information is now available to be studied thoroughly because of new computer technology and better tools. Everything found at the many sites around the world can be important. Obviously, Neanderthals were able to travel long distances, and did so. They also made tools of varying complexity, and used fire to cook their food. The kinds of tools they made are described in great detail; this is relevant because it shows a degree of thinking logically and a sense of organization and planning. There is an enormous amount of speculation about the evidence for possible burial practices and the creation of symbolic objects. Of course, there exists proof of interbreeding between Neanderthals and H. sapiens which has ignited even more research. And questions. Neanderthals were definitively gone by 40,000 years ago. The question is why? There are many possible answers to this vexing question: too rapid changes in climate; changes in food supply; competition and overcrowding from other hominins; even a possible pandemic unknown to us now which might have adversely affected them but not others. Perhaps the answer is all of the above. As an interested reader, my own feeling is that H. sapiens benefited from some slight genetic differences which enabled them to cooperate on a larger scale in greater numbers and over vaster distances than their competitors. The question of the evolution of language is not touched on very much in Dr. Sykes’ book, but she does discuss the possibilities of the use of verbal communication. With the slight change in genomic structure in the brains of H. sapiens, which she discusses, it is possible that this gave our lineage a leg up. Considering that language became ubiquitous in humans only about 40,000 years ago, a mere blink of the eye in evolutionary terms, it seems an important advantage which enabled us, for better or worse, to colonize the entire globe. But, it should be emphasized, that our lineage did not "beat" the Neanderthals, we likely out-cooperated and out-competed them. In the final chapter of her book, Dr. Sykes writes beautifully and movingly about the need for science in society at large, and the unbiased examination of human origins. "Yet the Neanderthals were never some sort of highway service station en route to Real People. They were state-of-the-art humans, just of a different sort. Their fate was a tapestry woven from the lives of individual hybrid babies, entire assimilated groups, and in remoter corners of Eurasia, lonely dwindling lineages - endlings - who left nothing behind but DNA sifting slowly down into the dirt of a cave floor." And, just to make things even more interesting, Dr. Sykes has a wicked sense of humor. There are many more aspects to this book that I could discuss; all that makes it one of the best books I've read this year. In the end, we must realize that Neanderthals were our Kindred, the title of this spectacularly beautiful book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    Interesting but far too detailed I found the book disappointing. Although the writing is conversational and in plain English, I felt that the information on archeological sites was too detailed and too extensive to keep my attention. On the other hand, I enjoyed the introduction to each paragraph, finding them poetic, but this wasn’t enough to make the book enjoyable. Disclosure: I received an advance reader copy via Netgalley for review purposes.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ula

    An impressive work, collecting the most up-to-date facts about our most famous fellow hominid. The span of this book is enormous, covering every possible aspect of the Neanderthal's lifestyle. Describing many discoveries, Sykes is also painting an interesting history of paleontology and scientific progress. The book is very detailed, sometimes to a fault - a whole chapter about different methods of making stone tools was somewhat exhausting. Sykes sometimes is taking an astonishing leap of faith An impressive work, collecting the most up-to-date facts about our most famous fellow hominid. The span of this book is enormous, covering every possible aspect of the Neanderthal's lifestyle. Describing many discoveries, Sykes is also painting an interesting history of paleontology and scientific progress. The book is very detailed, sometimes to a fault - a whole chapter about different methods of making stone tools was somewhat exhausting. Sykes sometimes is taking an astonishing leap of faith, trying to imagine the inner life of so long gone beings. She is disarmingly biased towards her subjects of study but after over a century of slander, I suppose the Neanderthal deserves to have such a valiant advocate. Thanks to the publisher, Bloomsbury USA, and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Robert Ham

    The book does an excellent job of discussing the cutting edge science being used in examining fossil remains, and analyzing the evidence, which includes both new finds and very old ones that are being reevaluated. Because so much of the science is still evolving, a portion of her arguments fall into the category of educated speculation, and the author is very conscientious about pointing this out. However, the book has a clear agenda, which is to debunk the popular and persistent image of Neander The book does an excellent job of discussing the cutting edge science being used in examining fossil remains, and analyzing the evidence, which includes both new finds and very old ones that are being reevaluated. Because so much of the science is still evolving, a portion of her arguments fall into the category of educated speculation, and the author is very conscientious about pointing this out. However, the book has a clear agenda, which is to debunk the popular and persistent image of Neanderthals as sub-human creatures and a failed species. This is surely a laudable goal, and one the author pursues with clear-eyed determination. I feel that sometimes she puts the agenda before the evidence--stating an idea and then presenting evidence that MAY BE INTERPRETED as supporting that idea. Many chapters begin with fictional vignettes, often from the point of view of individual Neanderthals--a hungry child waiting for hunters to return, or a woman giving birth surrounded by friends. This is some of the most beautiful and engaging writing in the book, but is the very definition of getting inside the heads of a vanished people, something which the author herself cautions against because it is...impossible. That said, it is possible to disagree with this technique, and even the agenda of the book itself, and still get an enormous amount of useful information out of it. I would strongly recommend it to anyone interested in the subject, because of its thoroughness, its detailed explanations, its passion, and the fact that it's current (it came out in 2020).

  8. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    This was an absolutely fascinating overview of the current state of Neanderthal scholarship, presenting an altogether human view of these vanished cousins of ours.

  9. 4 out of 5

    charles wilkinson

    Rebecca Sykes brings these ancient people to life in a way that made me empathize deeply with their difficult struggle for existence. With each page, there is also a shadow, unwritten paragraph, that made me yearn to understand more about the unsolvable sweet mystery of life and human history.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Paleoanthro

    An intriguing discussion of everything about Neanderthals. Thoroughly researched, the author introduces us to more then "bones and stones," but a strong and elegant analysis of Neanderthals from their biology to material culture to subsistence and land use patterns. Through the author we see the amazing hominins Neanderthals were and how they lived, loved, and learned, and interacted with their environment. An intriguing discussion of everything about Neanderthals. Thoroughly researched, the author introduces us to more then "bones and stones," but a strong and elegant analysis of Neanderthals from their biology to material culture to subsistence and land use patterns. Through the author we see the amazing hominins Neanderthals were and how they lived, loved, and learned, and interacted with their environment.

  11. 5 out of 5

    CBW Librarian

    Fascinating for people interested in archaeology, anthropology, and the evolution of humankind.

  12. 5 out of 5

    James

    Lovely and dense summary of what we now know about Neanderthals.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Virtuosew

    My first introduction to the science of Early Humans came from a copy of playwright Robert Ardrey's "African Genesis", written in the 1950s. It's energetically and interestingly written, but by now much of the information has been superseded. I've been looking for a readable update for years, ploughing through (or simply failing to finish) a variety of rather dull books. Now, the search is over. Rebecca Wragg Sykes has contrived to blend expertise, passionate interest, and a poet's heart in this My first introduction to the science of Early Humans came from a copy of playwright Robert Ardrey's "African Genesis", written in the 1950s. It's energetically and interestingly written, but by now much of the information has been superseded. I've been looking for a readable update for years, ploughing through (or simply failing to finish) a variety of rather dull books. Now, the search is over. Rebecca Wragg Sykes has contrived to blend expertise, passionate interest, and a poet's heart in this discussion of the current state of the science relating to the Neanderthals. The book is ordered thematically, rather than chronologically or geographically, and explores huge themes, as the subtitle suggests. Chapters are introduced with a vividly-imagined vignette of Neanderthal life, but the imagination is clearly backed up with a detailed knowledge and understanding of the science. That science is continuing to change and develop, so I hope she'll have the energy and time to produce an update, maybe in a decade or so. Who knows what will have been discovered by then? If Anne-Louise Avery's "Reynard the Fox" is the best fiction I've read this year, beyond question Rebecca Wragg Sykes "Kindred" is the best non-fiction.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Elisa

    All my life I’ve pictured Neanderthals as apelike troglodytes who dragged their knuckles while losing ground to the smarter Homo Sapiens. Turns out I was wrong! Kindred explains how they were an advanced society with structured living arrangements, complex relationships and even art. The improvements in genetic science and dating techniques are now allowing us to learn more about our ancestors. Much is still unknown, but the author has the expertise to make educated guesses. Her theories about w All my life I’ve pictured Neanderthals as apelike troglodytes who dragged their knuckles while losing ground to the smarter Homo Sapiens. Turns out I was wrong! Kindred explains how they were an advanced society with structured living arrangements, complex relationships and even art. The improvements in genetic science and dating techniques are now allowing us to learn more about our ancestors. Much is still unknown, but the author has the expertise to make educated guesses. Her theories about why they went extinct make sense and her descriptions of what must have been their daily lives are so vivid that it’s hard to remember they died off so long ago. Some parts were too technical for me, especially the genetics and the geological data. The chapters devoted to their society and, most of all, their art, were my favorite. This is a great way to learn about a time period that is still unfamiliar. I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. Thank you, NetGalley/Bloomsbury Sigma!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mansoor

    The Woke guide to Neanderthals.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Teddi

    This is a very comprehensive book of all things Neanderthal. Wragg Sykes does a great job compiling extensive datasets; however, it is so comprehensive that it is somewhat clunky. I wouldn't let that discourage anyone from reading it, because the takeaway points are worth it. As an anthropologist, some of the things that I learned in this book have given me a different perspective on Neanderthals and what it means to be human. If you are a physical anthropologist or archaeologist (or aspiring to This is a very comprehensive book of all things Neanderthal. Wragg Sykes does a great job compiling extensive datasets; however, it is so comprehensive that it is somewhat clunky. I wouldn't let that discourage anyone from reading it, because the takeaway points are worth it. As an anthropologist, some of the things that I learned in this book have given me a different perspective on Neanderthals and what it means to be human. If you are a physical anthropologist or archaeologist (or aspiring to be one), you will want a copy of this on your shelves. This book would also make an excellent supplemental course adoption in upper-level undergraduate and graduate classes. Thanks to the publisher, Bloomsbury USA, and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    James Neil Glover

    The author largely manages to achieve the complex task of reviewing the history of Neanderthal discoveries while discussing much more recent discoveries based on DNA evidence and re-examination of older sites. This often seems mind boggling in its detail but she is a good writer and thinker and succeeds to produce a definitive and very readable book. Where it is let down is in the more speculative parts towards the end which seemed to have little point than be an exercise in creative writing. I The author largely manages to achieve the complex task of reviewing the history of Neanderthal discoveries while discussing much more recent discoveries based on DNA evidence and re-examination of older sites. This often seems mind boggling in its detail but she is a good writer and thinker and succeeds to produce a definitive and very readable book. Where it is let down is in the more speculative parts towards the end which seemed to have little point than be an exercise in creative writing. I found myself skim reading them. And then when i thought it was finally finished there was an epilogue about Covid-19! And how nothing is really certain. I got the feeling she just didn't want to stop.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jack Hicks

    Kindred, Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art Rebecca Wragg Sykes, 2020 Jean Auel in the 1980’s wrote a series of books, “the Earth’s Children” series, where “her bold speculation about intimate inner-species relations was viewed as somewhat fringe, but 30 years later, genetic science showed she had been right”. In 2010 our perception of Neanderthals was totally transformed. DNA technology enabled the decoding of ancient DNA. Neanderthal bones and teeth DNA were sequenced and revealed that most m Kindred, Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art Rebecca Wragg Sykes, 2020 Jean Auel in the 1980’s wrote a series of books, “the Earth’s Children” series, where “her bold speculation about intimate inner-species relations was viewed as somewhat fringe, but 30 years later, genetic science showed she had been right”. In 2010 our perception of Neanderthals was totally transformed. DNA technology enabled the decoding of ancient DNA. Neanderthal bones and teeth DNA were sequenced and revealed that most modern humans carry between 2-3 % Neanderthal DNA. Since the early 19th century, when the first Neanderthal remains were discovered, we have been intrigued with these stockier, sloped forehead hominin relatives who mysteriously disappeared forty thousand years ago. Who were these people? What was their culture? How and for how long did they walk earth? The most profound concept reading this book will give you is a perception of how the arrival and domination of our species is just a wisp of time in the history of hominoids on this planet. Neanderthals arrived on the Eurasian continent approximately 450,000 years ago. At that time, the earth’s climate had already been in the midst of the Pleistocene epoch for over 2.5 million years. This was an epoch where ice ages came and went on a 120,000-year cycle. The Neanderthals survived four separate glaciations and warming periods before homo sapiens ever showed up on the continents of Europe and Asia. Having only lived through a portion of the last ice age and the subsequent warming we seem to assume that the climate we experience now and depend on will somehow last forever. Our ancestors were roaming Eurasia, surviving as hunter gathers for over 90,000 years, before anyone ever thought of the concept of agriculture and over 95,000 years before anyone thought of writing anything down. Who were Neanderthals? Sykes takes us through an analysis of all the current knowledge as to their stone age technology, their hunting techniques, their societies, culture, and territories. Modern computer technology makes it possible from a pile of stone chips to reconstruct the knapping technique and tools that were used to construct a blade or a point. Various groups perfected and adapted different technologies, and these evolved over time. We can analyze fire pit remains and strata to determine when various cave sites were used and when they were vacant. Neanderthals it turns out were very nomadic and never stayed in one place for any extended period. They followed game migrations, camped near water sources all in the quest for sustenance. They hunted huge cave bears and mammoths with only stone pointed spears or javelins. They hunted birds, rabbits and shellfish They were it turns out cannibalistic, eating selected parts of their dead relatives. The selective nature of this cannibalism seems to indicate possibly a religious aspect maybe similar to a carnal Eucharist. The age-old question that persists to this day is why they disappeared 40,000 years ago. There seems to be no evidence for any kind of conflict with newly arrived homo sapiens. There was certainly climatological stress as Europe was entering the depths of an ice age, but they had already survived through four ice age cycles. As homo sapiens arrived at this time there might have been increased competition for game. One intriguing theory is that the newcomers brought some sort of disease that the Neanderthals had no immunity to, similar to the smallpox Europeans brought to the new world that devastated native populations. Sykes writing is in many sections quite lyrical. How should we connect today with our kindred beings? “we know the blood feeding neurons crackling like fireworks in 6 billion living brains – yours, as you read this page – carry the legacy of the Neanderthals. That the vast majority of living people are their descendants is, by any measure, some sort of evolutionary success. The fact that hybrids existed, lived loved and raised their own children is the most persuasive argument for our closeness at every level. Not only did we find each other attractive, but some level of cultural communication must have been involved”. She comments on our own human hubris: “Fundamentally, the long obsession over Neanderthals’ fate reflects our deep dread of annihilation. Extinction is frightening; even the syllables slam up against each other. Is it a coincidence that as our species wakes up to what may be its greatest threat, apocalyptic fiction becomes all the rage? In the face of obliteration, we desire comforting parables where we are always the Ones Who Lived. What’s more, we want to feel special: most of the stories we’ve told about Neanderthals have been narcissistic reassurances that we ‘won’ because we’re outstanding, destined to survive”. What wisdom might you gain from reading a book like this? That we, our ilk, are johnny -come- latelys on this earth. If we as a species are to survive as long as our hominin cousins did, another 300,000 years, we will indeed have to up our game in new and drastic ways. As Sykes concludes: “Carried within our bodies, today the Neanderthals face another crisis. Earth, where we exist in a frighteningly thin atmosphere like honey smeared on an apple, has long strained against the increasing load we place on it. Our shared fascination for material properties has metastasized into a tumor of creation and consumption, as our clever fingers fashion ever more things from stone, iron, plastic”. “We have no guidebook for the destination our sprawling, industrialized, unimaginably complicated civilization faces. What’s been shockingly proven by COVID-19 is that, even with technological buffering, we’re on a course for uncertainty and ever greater instability”. JACK

  19. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Palmer

    I’ve been fascinated by human evolution for a long time, so Rebecca Wragg Sykes’ new book Kindred was a must-buy for me. Subtitled Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art, it’s an up-to-date, wide ranging, in-depth look at everything we know about the Neanderthals as of spring this year. As the author observes, following a decade of new discoveries – mostly in the field of genetics – this new decade is shaping up to be a good one for our long lost cousins. The author covers everything Neanderthal – I’ve been fascinated by human evolution for a long time, so Rebecca Wragg Sykes’ new book Kindred was a must-buy for me. Subtitled Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art, it’s an up-to-date, wide ranging, in-depth look at everything we know about the Neanderthals as of spring this year. As the author observes, following a decade of new discoveries – mostly in the field of genetics – this new decade is shaping up to be a good one for our long lost cousins. The author covers everything Neanderthal – discovery, fossilisation, site mechanics, species assessment and reassessment – before heading off into fields needing more nuance and interpretation: love, death and art. The chapter on death is particularly good. Sykes is a keen observer, stating probabilities where that is necessary, elsewhere unafraid of giving her own personal interpretation. The impression is of an author on top of her material, possessed of humanity, experience and insight. The book overall is well written, albeit with a tendency for an occasional lapse – poor puns, for instance a particularly jarring dental one. Also the footnotes which litter the first half of the book become irritating quickly. These notes, most of which are incidental if not irrelevant, should have been numbered and relegated to pages at the back of the book. But overall, the style is okay. I very much liked the author’s reassessment of the terrible masculine lapses of earlier archaeology. Not for her a male, Western view. The end of the book is a highly commendable look at how Neanderthals skills, minds and lives should be assessed from a human vantage, not a male, white, Western one. Non-Western hunter-gatherer individuals have for instance reinterpreted archaeological evidence, and in fact have found new evidence simply by looking at Neanderthal sites with “new” eyes. An excellent book, highly recommended.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Simon Banks

    This is a fascinating and well-written book. It sets out any amount of science, of recent discoveries, it interrogates what has been found critically, but it's written vividly and with undisguised enthusiasm. If there is a possible criticism, it's that Rebecca Wragg Sykes tends to believe the best of Neanderthals - but so many scientists over the years have done the opposite and in particular, have taken the fact that something hasn't yet been found in association with Neanderthals as evidence t This is a fascinating and well-written book. It sets out any amount of science, of recent discoveries, it interrogates what has been found critically, but it's written vividly and with undisguised enthusiasm. If there is a possible criticism, it's that Rebecca Wragg Sykes tends to believe the best of Neanderthals - but so many scientists over the years have done the opposite and in particular, have taken the fact that something hasn't yet been found in association with Neanderthals as evidence that they didn't have it - art, throwing spears, a fish and seafood diet, wide social links - and all those assumptions have now been undermined. Neanderthals and Homo "sapiens" interbred at various times and in various parts of the range - not just in the Middle East soon after "sapiens" arrived, as we were told not long ago, and among the genes we've inherited from Neanderthals are one for sequencing of finger movements - what I'm doing now on this keyboard or what a musician does - and one for assessing and arranging numbers! Rebecca does rather deprecate the focus on "Why did the Neanderthals die out?", though she also discusses it - their higher energy needs to keep their bodies going seem likely to be part of the explanation at a time when large prey was hard to find, given that "sapiens" was now present across the whole Neanderthal range - but my academic training is in History and I'm trained to look at a big event and ask why. It wasn't, though, because they were grossly inferior in any way. What we just don't know, and I'd love to find out, is how Neanderthal society was organised. But there, we just have to guess.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Per

    In an 1892 article [...] written in-between the Neanderthal discoveries at Spy and Krapina – he made the profound observation that, rather than indicating black or Aboriginal peoples were separate sub-human races, the increasing numbers of hominin fossils implied precisely the opposite. All peoples of the earth had a common origin, and were therefore united in equal capacity for intelligence, civilisation and humanity. I watched a half hour long interview with Rebcca Wragg Styles about two mo In an 1892 article [...] written in-between the Neanderthal discoveries at Spy and Krapina – he made the profound observation that, rather than indicating black or Aboriginal peoples were separate sub-human races, the increasing numbers of hominin fossils implied precisely the opposite. All peoples of the earth had a common origin, and were therefore united in equal capacity for intelligence, civilisation and humanity. I watched a half hour long interview with Rebcca Wragg Styles about two months back, "Neanderthal: Life, Love, Death & Art | History Hit LIVE on Timeline" which is available at YouTube: https://youtu.be/XwWoDtF1UQE and added the book to my ToRead list immediately. I've always been on the side of assuming there was interbreeding between homo sapiens and homo neanderthalensis, so reading more about our kindred was just a given to me. The book is obviously sciencey, but it's far from overly academic. It gives a good feeling of what Neanderthal life might have looked like, while busting a few myths along the way. Certainly a good book for anyone who is interested in knowing where science is on the topic at the moment. For more information on the author and her writings, there's her site (which also has links to a blog and some various articles on the same topic): https://www.rebeccawraggsykes.com/ The very oldest graphic engraving is a clear zig-zag on the surface of a freshwater shell from Trinil, Java, made an astonishing 500,000 years ago. This raises the possibility that the Neanderthals’ and our ancient, aesthetic heritage was a shared legacy from deep in the Homo lineage. We might have walked into a new continent and found it adorned by art already many millennia old.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jean Butler

    The subject is fascinating, and I learned so much about both Neanderthals and the amazing advances in paleoarcheology through sophisticated technological testing. However, I also found it difficult to read; it seems a strong editorial hand was lacking. Professional terms (such as 'ka', a unit of time, and 'high coverage genome') were either poorly defined or not defined at all. Sentence structure (usually due to lack of clarity about whom a pronoun referred to) often required rereadings without The subject is fascinating, and I learned so much about both Neanderthals and the amazing advances in paleoarcheology through sophisticated technological testing. However, I also found it difficult to read; it seems a strong editorial hand was lacking. Professional terms (such as 'ka', a unit of time, and 'high coverage genome') were either poorly defined or not defined at all. Sentence structure (usually due to lack of clarity about whom a pronoun referred to) often required rereadings without my actually arriving at a conclusion. Some of the density is simply a result of the author's thoroughness in referring to different excavations and multiple individuals or isolated skeletal parts found there. And some of the density may just be mine - I found it hard to track relative ages and locations across the 400,000 years of Neanderthal existence and a geographical range from Gibraltar to the Pacific. What I took away from this book is an appreciation of how much like us the Neanderthals were, how human (although I got the impression 'human' is academically reserved for Homo sapiens, despite Neanderthals being among our ancestors) and how brilliantly adaptive. Also, how vast is the time span over which they thrived, despite ice ages and rapid changes in environment. Each chapter began with a brief imagining of these ancestors, which I found very moving and lyrical; I soon began looking forward to the start of the next chapter and its brief time travel.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Asani

    We are all Neanderthals. About 2% of our genes come from them. Even though they are our ancestors, they get a bad rap as nasty, brutish and short. Rebecca Sykes shows that our notion about Neanderthals is just plain wrong. Neanderthals survived for about 350,000 years — probably more than Homo sapiens will. Their brains were larger than ours. They were innovative and creative. They made sophisticated tools for hunting. They hunted animals much larger and stronger than themselves. They survived e We are all Neanderthals. About 2% of our genes come from them. Even though they are our ancestors, they get a bad rap as nasty, brutish and short. Rebecca Sykes shows that our notion about Neanderthals is just plain wrong. Neanderthals survived for about 350,000 years — probably more than Homo sapiens will. Their brains were larger than ours. They were innovative and creative. They made sophisticated tools for hunting. They hunted animals much larger and stronger than themselves. They survived extreme climate changes, from ice ages to heat waves. They roamed far and wide, from Europe to Middle East and Asia. They created art and had the ability to speak. Rebecca Sykes paints a nuanced picture of Neanderthal life and society, drawing on years of scientific research. This is impressive scholarship, yet written in a clear and simple way that will not overwhelm readers. The only parts I didn’t like are the schmaltzy introductions to each chapter, intended to give an impressionistic portrait of daily life, that read like bad undergrad papers. What was most impressive are the advances in scientific research, making use of lasers and other electronics to figure out minute details from tiny fragments of bones and stones that earlier archaeologists had simply thrown away. If you have any interest in science, or are interested in the evolution of humans, this is a must-read book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ross

    This should become the definitive book on neanderthals for years to come. Replacing Shreeve's "The Neanderthal Enigma" and Trinkaus & Shipman's "The Neandertals" as the most up-to-date and accessible work on our closest extinct relatives. The breadth of material covered is huge and detailed but Wragg Sykes picks out the most interesting and relevant information from each discipline and weaves it together as a compelling whole. Covering classic sites such as Le Moustier (her eponymous Twitter han This should become the definitive book on neanderthals for years to come. Replacing Shreeve's "The Neanderthal Enigma" and Trinkaus & Shipman's "The Neandertals" as the most up-to-date and accessible work on our closest extinct relatives. The breadth of material covered is huge and detailed but Wragg Sykes picks out the most interesting and relevant information from each discipline and weaves it together as a compelling whole. Covering classic sites such as Le Moustier (her eponymous Twitter handle), Shanidar, Teshik-Tash, Okladnikov, Denisova, Krapina, and many others and bringing to life the latest findings in taphonomy, zooarchaeology, and ancient DNA from each, she brings an archaeologists eye to our fascinating cousins. Yet at the same time, she does more than any other writer to humanise our kindred and push against the all too reductive popular image of neanderthals as primitive or savage evolutionary failures. Discussion of evidence for cultural practices like art and cannibalism are so skilfully done that you may come to reconsider everything you thought you knew about anthropophagy. A remarkable work.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Susan Asch

    Excellent research putting together most of what paleoarcheologists know about our kindred, the Neanderthals, whose genes have intermingled with ours for thousands of years, making up even now about 2% of our homo sapien sapiens genome. Thrilled that Rebecca Sykes extensive research was initially inspired by the archeological novelist Jean Auel's The Earth's Children, which inspired me to visit the Dordogne region of France where I went into the Font-de-Gaumes and Comberelles Grottoes at Eyzies Excellent research putting together most of what paleoarcheologists know about our kindred, the Neanderthals, whose genes have intermingled with ours for thousands of years, making up even now about 2% of our homo sapien sapiens genome. Thrilled that Rebecca Sykes extensive research was initially inspired by the archeological novelist Jean Auel's The Earth's Children, which inspired me to visit the Dordogne region of France where I went into the Font-de-Gaumes and Comberelles Grottoes at Eyzies de Tayac in the Vezere River Valley near Lascaux and touched the ochre hand prints at the entrance to the caves and distinguished the outlines of a tiger carved into its walls. Rebecca Sykes reveals how sophisticated lithic technology has been sorely underestimated in Neanderthal culture. How they used fire in myriad ways, how they cured hides, carved wooden tools, marked incisions on bones, made clothes, cooked food, cared for each other. I only wish Ms Sykes had included more research from France, South America, Africa. In addition to Jean Auel's prehistoric romance, I would recommend The Singing Neanderthals by Stephen Mithan which examines their larynxes and speculates about their vocal, linguistic and musical abilities . They were living here on Earth from 400 000 odd years ago and are still here. Look in the mirror.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Robert Monk

    Very much my kinda book, this is a survey course in Neanderthal studies. It looks at various aspects of what we know about Neanderthal life, culture, and essentially existence. It speculates quite a bit, as popular science books tend to do, and I did grow occasionally weary of the author's use of "but amazingly..." or some variant. And I think she might have been well-served by showing a tad more skepticism about some of the wilder theories that spun out of minimal evidence. Still, I know a lot Very much my kinda book, this is a survey course in Neanderthal studies. It looks at various aspects of what we know about Neanderthal life, culture, and essentially existence. It speculates quite a bit, as popular science books tend to do, and I did grow occasionally weary of the author's use of "but amazingly..." or some variant. And I think she might have been well-served by showing a tad more skepticism about some of the wilder theories that spun out of minimal evidence. Still, I know a lot more now then I did going in. Given the fairly recent revelations about how Neanderthal genes are still in us (which, don't you think, means that they weren't a different species at all?), I was curious about what else we might have learned recently. This did the trick in sating that curiosity.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Doug Gordon

    A fascinating book, although a bit too wordy in places. I've been reading on this subject for many years, but what astounded me here almost as much as the many new findings, is the new technology that has contributed to those findings. They can take a single tooth and almost tell the life story of the person it belonged to, or scan the many scraps of stone at a tool making site and digitally reconstruct the original stone core to understand how tools were made from it and in what order. And that A fascinating book, although a bit too wordy in places. I've been reading on this subject for many years, but what astounded me here almost as much as the many new findings, is the new technology that has contributed to those findings. They can take a single tooth and almost tell the life story of the person it belonged to, or scan the many scraps of stone at a tool making site and digitally reconstruct the original stone core to understand how tools were made from it and in what order. And that is nothing compared to what they're doing with recovered DNA. I took one of those DNA tests that told me that I had 3.x% Neanderthal DNA and this book gave me a clearer idea of the implications of that finding.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Anniken

    Brilliant book about the Neanderthals; highly unusual, highly recommended. Part rigorous, detailed archaeological science. Part short, poetic sketches attempting to evoke the possible lives and feelings of the people who once inhabited the bones and used the stone tools. Despite this first and foremost being a science book, two great novels I have read came to mind: The Inheritors by William Golding and Ghost Species by James Bradley. Brilliant book about the Neanderthals; highly unusual, highly recommended. Part rigorous, detailed archaeological science. Part short, poetic sketches attempting to evoke the possible lives and feelings of the people who once inhabited the bones and used the stone tools. Despite this first and foremost being a science book, two great novels I have read came to mind: The Inheritors by William Golding and Ghost Species by James Bradley.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Miguel

    This book struck a chord in that it explains so much from the vantage point from an obvious technical expert about evolution and the world that the Neanderthals inhabited. One definitely gets a sense that the are taking in the definitive story about these distant relatives as well as it can be understood today. It’s not a strict chronology as each chapter tackles a different topic and it flows through the sites and evidence that is currently available in the site, artifact, and skeletal/DNA reco This book struck a chord in that it explains so much from the vantage point from an obvious technical expert about evolution and the world that the Neanderthals inhabited. One definitely gets a sense that the are taking in the definitive story about these distant relatives as well as it can be understood today. It’s not a strict chronology as each chapter tackles a different topic and it flows through the sites and evidence that is currently available in the site, artifact, and skeletal/DNA record. Sykes pulls all of this together to give a comprehensive and in depth story that’s compelling and insightful.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Celia Lewis

    Her passion for Neanderthals Having had my DNA analyzed for genetic genealogy purposes, I was surprised and a bit amused to find about 2% of Neanderthal DNA in my analysis. And then to learn of the ubiquitous nature of Neanderthal DNA history, I developed a desire to learn more. And I ran across this book mentioned on Twitter. Perfect timing. It is dense, fascinating, detailed, and an educational walk through the history of Neanderthals in Eurasia. All through much painstaking analysis with open Her passion for Neanderthals Having had my DNA analyzed for genetic genealogy purposes, I was surprised and a bit amused to find about 2% of Neanderthal DNA in my analysis. And then to learn of the ubiquitous nature of Neanderthal DNA history, I developed a desire to learn more. And I ran across this book mentioned on Twitter. Perfect timing. It is dense, fascinating, detailed, and an educational walk through the history of Neanderthals in Eurasia. All through much painstaking analysis with open minds. You need to read it. Persevere if this isn't your field, it is so worth the effort. Highly recommended.

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