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Cover

The Smart Neanderthal

Bird catching, Cave Art, and the Cognitive Revolution

Clive Finlayson

February 2019

ISBN: 9780198797524

240 pages
Hardback
216x135mm

In Stock

Price: £20.00

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.

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Description

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.

Table of Contents

    Preface
    1: Nana and flint
    2: Neanderthals and birds
    3: Lessons from the Arctic
    4: The long-tailed duck
    5: The white ghost
    6: Gibraltar
    7: The dynamic world of dunes
    8: Lakes and plains
    9: The great auk
    10: Big eyes
    11: Digging in the cave
    12: Neanderthal real estate
    13: Of seals and limpets
    14: Birds of a feather
    15: The golden eagle
    16: Ambushing the scavengers
    17: The big six
    18: How to skin a vulture
    19: Pigeons and choughs
    20: Feeding the vultures
    21: The hashtag and the end of the long road to Neanderthal emancipation
    Appendix 1 Bird Names used in the Text
    Appendix 2 Mammal Names used in the Text
    Endnotes
    Further reading
    Index

Reviews

"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