How To Think Like a Neandertal
In this book, archaeologist Thomas Wynn and psychologist Frederick L. Coolidge use recent archaeological and fossil evidence to imagine the mental life of the Neandertals, who share an ancestor with us. Their conclusions will fascinate you and make you think about the roots of our own minds and culture. From gene samples, we know one specimen had the gene for red hair, and all had a gene related to speech. Wynn and Coolidge believe Neandertals had words for everything from places to emotions. Their stone tools and living sites show us their complex technical procedures and preference for family life. After examining the Neandertals' symbolic culture--care of dead bodies, uses of fire, possible body coloring--the authors conclude that they probably had no concept of the supernatural. Finally, the book discusses the violence of their life, especially of the hunt for mammoths and wooly rhinoceroses. Both male and female hunters could and did take a lot of pain, and though they had large vocabularies they spoke little and excited rarely.
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