Evidence that Neanderthals caught birds and used their feathers for decoration, along with recent discoveries of Neanderthal cave art, are challenging our preconceptions of the cognitive gap between Neanderthals and modern humans. Clive Finlayson draws on new evidence to overturn the old image of the Neanderthal, and our relationship with them.
- Overturns current thinking about Neanderthals and the 'cognitive revolution' using new evidence of their intellectual abilities
- A personal account of the author's and his colleagues' work in Gibraltar and their discovery of new evidence about Neanderthals' relationships with birds
- Captures the excitement and challenges of working in the field
- Argues that aspects of Neanderthal behaviour indicate that they were not cognitively inferior to Modern Humans but had their own rituals and art forms
About the Author(s)
Clive Finlayson, Director of The Gibraltar Museum, and Director of the Institute of Life and Earth Sciences, University of Gibraltar
Clive Finlayson is an evolutionary biologist whose research areas focus on birds and the behavioural ecology of Neanderthals. He has been the Director of Excavations at Neanderthal sites in Gibraltar since 1989, and has been involved in major recent discoveries, including that of the first known engraving made by a Neanderthal. A regular contributor to BBC News Online (Science and Environment), he is also the author of several books, including The Improbable Primate
(OUP, 2014) and The Humans Who Went Extinct (OUP, 2010). He was elected to the Academia Europaea in 2010.
"In this short, engaging book, Finlayson recounts his personal journey to find out about Neanderthals. In doing so, he effectively rattles the bars of the protective cage around our species uniqueness." - Clive Gamble, Archäologische Informationen
"This is an anecdotal and quirky book, an act of storytelling in effect, but nonetheless persuasive for that ... The Smart Neanderthal is a touching, slightly eccentric contribution to an evolving story, finding, as all do in this field, tremendous significance in still scant evidence - but it is wonderfully suggestive and engaging." - David Sexton, Evening Standard
"The Smart Neanderthal offers both a fascinating exploration of the latest Neanderthal discoveries and a superb study of the evolution of Neanderthals as cultural icons ... highly recommended to readers interested in evolutionary theory, human prehistory, and the complex afterlives of bones." - Lydia Pyne, Los Angeles Review of Books
"The Best Science Books to Read For Summer 2019: From Gibraltar's swelter to a frigid Norwegian fjord, the evolutionary biologist takes readers on an adventure in unexpected revelations about this lost lineage of humans." - Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine
"No one has done more for Neanderthal public relations than evolutionary archaeologist Clive Finlayson... I found The Smart Neandethal fascinating." - David Miles, Minerva
"Well-written and accessible." - Antiquity