HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Neandertals: Of Skeletons, Scientists,…
Loading...

The Neandertals: Of Skeletons, Scientists, and Scandal (1993)

by Erik Trinkaus, Pat Shipman

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations
1191155,994 (4.33)None
In 1856, at the very time when Charles Darwin was writing The Origin of Species, which would popularize the revolutionary concept of evolution worldwide, the fossilized remains of a stocky, powerful, human-like creature were discovered in a German valley called Neandertal. The bones were believed by some scientists to have belonged to a primitive version of modern man. But how old were they? Thus began a controversy that has continued to this day, swirling around the origins and interpretation of the Neandertals, placing them at every possible location on our family tree. Now, Erik Trinkaus, one of the world's leading experts on Neandertals, has collaborated with the noted scientist and writer Pat Shipman on a sweeping and definitive examination of what we know and how we've come to know it. Neandertals, who clearly represent a phase of human evolution, possessed their own unique qualities that made them neither chimpanzee nor modern human. The nature of those qualities - and how Neandertals were discovered, debated, studied, and analyzed over the years - is presented with authority and anecdotal richness. The story ranges from the days of Georges Cuvier (known as "Magician of the Charnel House" for his ability to reconstruct from piles of bones a whole animal skeleton) to the latest researchers whose work with DNA has raised the possibility that we are all descended from one African woman (the "Eve" theory). The controversy carries over from the elite scientific societies of Victorian England and nineteenth-century universities in France and Germany to American laboratories. Along the way there are anthropologists painfully accumulating specimens in digs as distant as Belgium and South Africa, Java and the hills outside Beijing, gradually building up a substantial base for legitimate theorizing (illegitimate, too - the tale of the Piltdown hoax is an enlightening interlude). A contentious, combative saga unfolds of vested interests and accepted wisdom clashing with empirical evidence and informal guesses, for as the authors make clear, no one has ever found it easy to be objective about Neandertals. Opinions have veered wildly over time: Neandertals were hardly human, almost apes; they were human, but pathological and not ancient; they were cannibals and shuffling, depraved half-wits; they were indistinguishable (given a shave and a haircut) from your next-door neighbor; they were an evolutionary dead end. In short, they were what we wanted them to be. The Neandertals is an important contribution both to the literature of prehistory and to our understanding of the way subjective wishes and irrelevant moral assumptions can distort even the most serious scientific endeavors.… (more)

None.

None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

Changing the image of mankind
  jhawn | Jul 31, 2017 |
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Erik Trinkausprimary authorall editionscalculated
Shipman, Patmain authorall editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
To Kim and Alan

Zachary and Amelia

Sable and Chutney:

thanks
First words
This is a book about the history of science and the science of history.  (Authors' note)
Serendipity played the joker that August day in 1856. (Prologue)
The original Neandertal fossils burst onto an unsuspecting world.  (Chapter 1)
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

No library descriptions found.

Book description
In 1856, at the very time when Charles Darwin was writing The Origin of Species, which would popularize the revolutionary concept of evolution worldwide, the fossilized remains of a stocky, powerful, human-like creature were discovered in a German valley called Neander Tal.  The bones were believed by some scientists to have belonged to a primitive version of modern man.  But how old were they?

Thus began a controversy that has continued to this day, swirling around the origins and interpretation of the Neandertals, placing them at every possible location on our family tree.  Now, Erik Trinkaus, one of the world's leading experts on Neandertals, has collaborated with Pat Shipman on a sweeping and definitive examination of what we know and how we've come to know it.

Neandertals, who clearly represent a phase of human evolution, possessed their own unique qualities that made them neither chimpanzee nor modern human.  The nature of these qualities -- and how Neandertals were discovered, debated, studied, and analyzed over the years -- is presented with authority and anecdotal richness.  The story ranges from the days of Georges Cuvier (known as "Magician of the Charnel House" for his ability to reconstruct from piles of bones a whole animal skeleton) to the latest researchers whose work with DNA has raised the possibility that we are all descended from one African woman (the "Eve" theory).

The controversy carries over from the elite scientific societies of Victorian England and nineteenth-century universities in France and Germany to American laboratories.   Along the way, there are anthropologists painfully accumulating specimens in digs as distant as Belgium and South Africa, Java and the hills outside Beijing, gradually building up a substantial base for legitimate theorizing (illegitimate, too -- the tale of the Piltdown hoax is an enlightening interlude.)

A contentious, combative saga unfolds of vested interests and accepted wisdom clashing with empirical evidence and informal guesses, for as the authors make clear, no one has ever found it easy to be objective about Neandertals.  Opinions have veered wildly over time: Neandertals were hardly human, almost apes; they were human, but pathological and not ancient; they were cannibals and shuffling, depraved half-wits' they were indistinguishable (given a shave and a haircut) from your next-door neighbor; they were an evolutionary dead-end.  In short, they were what we wanted them to be.

The Neandertals is an important contribution both to the literature of prehistory and to our understanding of the way subjective wishes and irrelevant moral assumptions can distort even the most serious scientific endeavors. [from the jacket]

CONTENTS:

Authors' Note

Important Fossil Discoveries

Cast of Characters

Prologue

Chapter 1  God or Beast

Chapter 2 Not my Ancestor: 1856-1865

Chapter 3 L'Affaire Moulin Quignon: 1865-1885

Chapter 4 Shuffling into the Light: 1886-1905

Chapter 5 The Proper Study of Mankind: 1906-1918

Chapter 6 An Okapi of Humanity: 1918-1939

Chapter 7 Global Thinking for Global Times: 1940-1954

Chapter 8 Race and Unreason: 1955-1970

Chapter 9 Welcome to Hard Times: 1971-1983

Chapter 10 Created in Our Own Image: 1984-1991

Epilogue

Notes

Index
Haiku summary

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (4.33)
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
3 1
3.5
4 2
4.5
5 3

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 138,944,720 books! | Top bar: Always visible