How to Think Like a Neandertal
Thomas Wynn, Professor of Anthropology Fredrick Coolidge, Professor of Psychology. Neandertals built complex structures, used feathers and ochre for ornaments, buried their dead with ritual, and with tools and teamwork, tackled the biggest game of all, the mammoth. Despite their reputation as being primitive ‘cavemen’, Neanderthals were very intelligent and accomplished humans. Extensive archaeological remains of stone tools and living sites (and, yes, they did often live in caves) indicate that Neandertals relied on complex technical procedures and spent most of their lives in small family groups. Thomas ad Fred sift the evidence that Neandertals had a symbolic culture–looking at their treatment of corpses, the use of fire, and possible body coloring. They also explores the brutal nature of their lives, especially in northwestern Europe, where men and women with spears hunted together for mammoths and wooly rhinoceroses. Also new research has revealed just how knowledgeable and effective Neanderthal healthcare was.
Co-authors of How to Think Like a Neandertal, archaeologist Thomas Wynn and psychologist Frederick L. Coolidge decipher the latest fossil, archaeological and DNA evidence, from genes for red hair, speech, and more, on the cognitive development of our ancestral cousins. What do we know of their speech and vocabulary, use of symbols, spiritual sense, tools and art, family life, adaptation to ice age conditions? Of our shared genes, and cognitive development? Wynn and Coolidge also co-wrote The Rise of Homo Sapiens.