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Neanderthal: Neanderthal Man and the Story of Human Origins Paperback – February 15, 2001


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About the Author

Paul Jordan read archaeology at Cambridge University and was for many years a writer and producer of television programs about science, history and archaeology with the BBC. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (February 15, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0750926767
  • ISBN-13: 978-0750926768
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.7 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,176,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on June 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
In Neanderthal: Neanderthal Man And The Story Of Human Origins , Paul Jordan draws upon his archaeological expertise to bring the reader up to date on our current understandings and interpretations of the Neanderthal species and its relationship to homo sapiens. Recently genetic testing on original bones from Germany show that the Neanderthal are not our direct ancestors, but rather a hominid off-shoot from a common ancestor shared with homo sapiens, having diverged from our line of evolution at least half a million years ago and doomed to die out during the last ice age. Jordan also surveys the evidence of about five thousand years of overlapping co-existence with homo sapiens, and some archaeological signs of interbreeding between modern humans and Neanderthal types. Neanderthal brings together under one cover all the research into the Neanderthal, their world, technology, way of life, death rituals, origins, and relationships to modern man. Ideal for the non-specialist general reader, Neanderthal is enhanced with more than one hundred black and white illustrations and eight pages of color photography. Also highly recommended are Paul Jordan's early works: Early Man; Riddles Of The Sphinx; and Ancestral Images: The Iconography Of Human Origins.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By "jasperg" on December 22, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Paul Jordan writes about our close evolutionary cousins in a readable style which is honest and informative without the unfortunate trend by some popular writers on human origins to dumb-it-down. The Neanderthals (FYI pronounced Ny-And-Er-Tals) are presented as a complex and successful (for their time) relative of homo sapiens sapiens, enigmatically similar and yet quite different in many respects. Hardly the dumb, uncaring brutes of popular culture. The book contains detailed, but readable, explanations of the fossil record for (sometimes competing) theories about Neanderthal society, tool making and physiology. Jordan's great strength is his ability to produce a readable narrative while not shying away from admitting the ambiguities that exist. This is Science at its best - a complex and exciting puzzle honestly expounded. My only complaint is the lack of diagrams of time lines showing ice ages and contemporaneous fossil evidence and something of the evolutionary bush (albeit conjectured) of human and near human species.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Magellan HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book, as the title suggests, concentrates on Neanderthal finds, fossils, and tool-making, and it goes into a great deal of detail on the current state of our knowledge. In fact, I would say it's probably the most thorough discussion I've found of all the important Neanderthal finds, along with the many intermediate fossil discoveries that show the evolutionary progression of the Neanderthal line.
These include finds such as the Spanish Sima de los Huesos fossils, and the Greek Petrolona fossils, both of which strongly seem to represent an early, archaic form of Neanderthal in their heavier brow-ridges and smaller (about 1200 cc) braincases. Along with these, there are discussions of the several classic Neanderthal finds from France and Germany, too. As I mentioned, the author goes into a fair amount of anatomical detail discussing and comparing the fossils from the many different sites, and so this book may be somewhat difficult, dry, and technical for the non-specialist. Overall, however, it's a very thorough and detailed discussion of the state of our knowledge about this important homonid. The average reader, however, may find the author's prose a little turgid, and the overall technical level a little rough going, but in general, I can't fault the writing too much given the level of technical difficulty of the book.
In addition to the comparative anatomy, the author also discusses Neanderthal tool-making and cultural artifacts, such as the Mousterian industry, and others.
Given the difficulty of the book, I would recommend that many people read Richard Klein's The Dawn of Human Culture before tackling this book, unless you're already somewhat knowledgeable about human evolution.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Michael Valdivielso on April 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book has it all, from fossils to DNA tests. Paul Jordan knows his stuff and has the facts all at his finger tips as he takes us on a tour of the world of the Neanderthals AND the history of their discovery. The only complaint I can say is that it is a tad disorganized in format and might confuse people new to the subject. Lots of photos, but few charts or timelines to help the readers.
People just beginning might wish to read IN SEARCH OF THE NEANDERTHALS by Christopher Stringer and Clive Gamble. Being published in the 1993-4, it is already outdated, but most of the basic information on fossils, camp sites, food sources and stone tools are still valid, aided with maps, charts and timelines. THAN come to Paul Jordan's book for the updated data and ideas.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By "jasperg" on December 22, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Paul Jordan writes about our closest cousins in a style which is highly informative without the recent trend by some popular writers on human origins to dumb-it-down. The Neanderthals (FYI pronounced Ny-And-Er-Tals) are presented as a complex and successful (for their time) relative of homo sapiens sapiens, enigmatically similar and yet quite different in many respects. Hardly the dumb, uncaring brutes of popular culture. The book contains detailed, but readable, explanations of the fossil record for (sometimes competing) theories about Neanderthal society, tool making and physiology. Jordan's great strength is his ability to produce a readable narrative while not shying away from admitting the ambiguities that exist. This is Science at its best - a complex and exciting puzzle honestly expounded. My only complaint is the lack of diagrams of time lines showing ice ages and contemporaneous fossil evidence and something of the evolutionary bush (albeit conjectured) of human and near human species.
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