The Neandertals were a hardy species of enormous physical strength and manifest intelligence that survived the Ice Age rigors of Europe and western Asia for more than 100,000 years. Then 300 centuries ago, they inexplicably vanished - replaced by the “double wise” Homo sapiens sapiens, who left their handprints on cave walls, and whose explosive emergence was the most significant event in the history of our planet since the origin of life itself. Yet the fate of the Neandertal remains a conundrum that has sparked debate and violent dissension, effectively polarizing the anthropological establishment.
Who were they? Where did they go? Did our direct ancestors play some grisly role in their demise? It is this mystery that impelled distinguished science writer James Shreeve across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, and across the battlelines separating warring factions of the scientific community, in search of nothing less than the elusive origin of humankind, and an understanding of what it is that makes us human.
‘Reading The Neandertal Enigma is like sitting down with a wonderful storyteller in the cave where stories began.’ - Jonathan Weiner, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Beak of the Finch
‘An engaging book…Shreeve weaves complex strands of thought into an elegant story… He leads us [on] a wild journey that ultimately results in an extraordinarily clear presentation of the issues and the scientists behind them.’ - The New York Times Book Review
‘A handful of clear, well-written books have tried to untangle this confusing field for the layman, but Shreeve’s book is one of the most impressive… a wonderfully written exploration and comparison of the various viewpoints of the leading scientists.’ - Minneapolis Star-Tribune
‘A sparkling and up-to-the-minute account of today’s most active controversy in the field of human origins.’ - Ian Tattersall, Chairman and Curator, American Museum of Natural History
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