"Kindred is important reading not just for anyone interested in these ancient cousins of ours, but also for anyone interested in humanity."--The New York Times Book Review
"[A] bold and magnificent attempt to resurrect our Neanderthal kin."--The Wall Street Journal
In Kindred, Neanderthal expert Rebecca Wragg Sykes shoves aside the cliché of the shivering ragged figure in an icy wasteland, and reveals the Neanderthal you don’t know, our ancestor who lived across vast and diverse tracts of Eurasia and survived through hundreds of thousands of years of massive climate change. This book sheds new light on where they lived, what they ate, and the increasingly complex Neanderthal culture that researchers have discovered.
Since their discovery 150 years ago, Neanderthals have gone from the losers of the human family tree to A-list hominins. Our perception of the Neanderthal has changed dramatically, but despite growing scientific curiosity, popular culture fascination, and a wealth of coverage in the media and beyond are we getting the whole story? The reality of 21st century Neanderthals is complex and fascinating, yet remains virtually unknown and inaccessible outside the scientific literature.
Based on the author’s first-hand experience at the cutting-edge of Palaeolithic research and theory, this easy-to-read but information-rich book lays out the first full picture we have of the Neanderthals, from amazing new discoveries changing our view of them forever, to the more enduring mysteries of how they lived and died, and the biggest question of them all: their relationship with modern humans.
Rebecca Wragg Sykes has been fascinated by the vanished worlds of the Pleistocene ice ages since childhood, and followed this interest through a scientific career researching the most enigmatic characters of all, the Neanderthals.
Alongside her academic expertise, Rebecca has earned a reputation for exceptional public communication in print, broadcast and as a speaker. Her writing has featured in the Guardian, Aeon and Scientific American, and she has appeared on history and science programmes for BBC Radio 4. She works as an archaeological and creative consultant, and co-founded the influential TrowelBlazers project, highlighting women in archaeology and the earth sciences.
@LeMoustier / www.rebeccawraggsykes.com
“Important reading not just for anyone interested in these ancient cousins of ours, but also for anyone interested in humanity.” - Yuval Noah Harari, author of Sapiens - The New York Times
“Beautiful, evocative, authoritative. Kindred is a beautifully written exploration of our fast-developing understanding of Neanderthals and their culture and a compelling insight into how modern science is revealing the secrets of an extinct species who, for 350 thousand years before Homo Sapiens became dominant, inhabited a world ‘as wide and rich as the Roman Empire.’” - Professor Brian Cox, Physicist and TV presenter
“Rebecca Wragg-Sykes's fact-packed but highly readable book puts us right with a superbly authoritative guided tour of much new evidence. It's tempting to say, "If you read only one book about the Neanderthals, read this one" -- except that if the next 20 years provide as many revelations about our ancestors as the past 20 have done, she will need to produce just as weighty a second volume.” - Richard Morrison, The Times
“Blending cutting-edge science with lyrical storytelling, Rebecca Wragg Sykes paints a detailed portrait of our enigmatic relatives.” - Professor Alice Roberts, anatomist, author and broadcaster
“Written with such pleasing, elegant prose, Kindred is a captivating ode to the subtle complexities of palaeoanthropology – the thrill of discovery, the frustrating gaps in the evidence, the tantalising question marks hovering above our favourite ideas. Dr Rebecca Wragg Sykes balances admirable scientific caution with her joyous enthusiasm, and the result is a generous, enthralling history of how we first came to know our ancient cousins, and how we’re still getting to know them today.” - Greg Jenner, historian and author
“‘Kindred is a thrillingly full account of what we currently know about the Neanderthals… Wragg Sykes' project is to write about Neanderthals as an end in themselves, not as a failed version of humanity.’” - London Review of Books
“Rebecca Wragg Sykes’s book paints a vivid portrait of our adaptable ancient relatives ... immersive.” - Josie Glausiusz, Nature
“Kindred is a tour de force. A rich and beautiful synthesis of all that is known about Neanderthal biology and culture, it should be required reading for anyone interested in the history of humanity.” - Dr Tori Herridge, palaeontologist and TV presenter
“Wragg Sykes paints a fascinating picture of a field transformed almost beyond recognition over the past 30 years.” - Simon Ings, New Scientist
“‘The knowledge condensed here is certainly impressive … Rebecca Wragg Sykes has studied their landscapes, territories and tools and emerges as an expert and enthusiastic character witness for Neanderthals and their way of life. Neanderthals probably didn’t have PR, but they do now.’” - Guardian
“Current, compelling, well researched, beautifully written and poetical, Kindred is like no other book you've read on Neanderthals.” - Professor Lee. R. Berger, University of Witwatersrand