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El sueño del neandertal
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El sueño del neandertal

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  296 ratings  ·  51 reviews
Just 28,000 years ago, the blink of an eye in geological time, the last of Neanderthals died out in their last outpost, in caves near Gibraltar. Thanks to cartoons and folk accounts we have a distorted view of these other humans - for that is what they were. We think of them as crude and clumsy and not very bright, easily driven to extinction by the lithe, smart modern hum ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published November 18th 2010 by Critica (first published September 24th 2009)
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Christopher H.
This is a terrific book, and one that I highly recommend. Let me see if I can do the book any justice with my efforts at producing a meaningful review. I work with endangered species and degraded riparian ecosystems along a large river system in the American Southwest, and I very much appreciated Clive Finlayson's incorporation of the environmental and ecological aspects associated with the story of human origins. In Finlayson's The Humans Who Went Extinct: Why Neanderthals Died Out and We Survi ...more
the cover and title of this book are misleading. If you are looking for a book about Neanderthals this isn't really it; there are really only a couple of chapters specifically about them. mostly he gets up on a soap box about how anthropologists have it all wrong and draw quick conclusions from very little actual data.
He feels(based on suspiciously little data) that instead of neandetthal ancestors coming from africa 300,000 yrars ago and our ancestors coming from africa 50,000 years ago that
Mar 28, 2010 Terence rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Students of human evolution/paleoarchaeology
Recommended to Terence by: Library newsletter
I hate the cover of The Humans Who Went Extinct (THWWE). There’s an image of the savannah at sunset and superimposed in the right-hand corner is the face of a waifish Neanderthal child. Very adorable. But every time I look at it, I have visions of thuggish Cro-Magnons smashing through a sleepy Neanderthal camp bashing in this kid’s head and tossing her infant siblings up in the air to catch them on their spears.

That aside, THWWE is a fascinating interpretation of the hominid family bush, our pla
Basically a book that criticises making concrete judgements on the little data we have available, and then makes some of his own, which is kind of how a lot of this works, so no surprise there. On the technical side, I found his style off-putting: it seems to suggest an intentionality and directionality to evolution that does not exist.

Overall, the basic thesis is interesting: that climate and chance drove human evolution, and determined which branches of the evolutionary tree survived. That's
Feb 06, 2012 Iset rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Specialists
Maybe this book was just a mismatch between what I was actually looking for and the actual content, but I just never got on board with this one. The title, cover, and back cover blurb led me to believe that the subject matter would be about the Neanderthals, and on top of that I had been led to Clive Finlayson’s book through reading Alice Roberts’ popular history The Incredible Human Journey, in which Clive’s work on Neanderthal sites in Gibraltar features. However, when I got into it, the Neand ...more
This book addresses the question of why the neanderthals died out while homo sapiens survived. It rejects the genetic superiority of the later and is scathing on the thesis that homo sapiens played a causal role in the extinction of the neanderthals. Instead, Finlayson argues that the main culprit was the cooling climate. Moreover, he argues that this development disproportionately affected the somewhat more successful neanderthals because they were more used to one way of life, rather than the ...more
Koen Crolla
It seems to be a rule that scientists who complain about systematic oversimplification and arrogance in a field—particularly one that isn't their own but is related to it—never have anything useful to bring to the table themselves, and instead just missed a few shared metaphors. Arguments from incredulity aren't very convincing without data to justify them. (And ironically, when it comes to the evolution of specific features, such as our large brains, as opposed to the history of hominin interac ...more
"Our ancestors shared the planet with a number of other human forms. We were not alone"
"In the highly unstable world of chance and climate change. Many population of humans simply vanished"
"At 50 thousand Eurasia was occupied only by Neanderthals; by 30 thousand they were all but gone and the land mass was inhabited by the ancestors."

Those are the lines that capture the essence of this book.

The fact that we were not alone was well known to us for some time. But the how and why other human form
Priscilla Long
Finlayson takes the available evidence and questions conclusions often drawn from it, and that is its great strength. In the end the big question is, does the evidence point to the conclusion that we were more cognitively advanced than were they. Answer: No. The book covers many issues and goes back an forth in geologic time periods and could benefit from more charts and maps.
This was an interesting overview of human evolution. Finlayson does not go into a lot of details about the various known species of early humans, but tends to talk about generalities and the big picture. It's a fairly short book and he covers a huge amount of prehistory, so he necessarily doesn't examine things in great depth. The thing that spoiled it for me was the author's tone when talking about other paleontologists; he's always griping that they're overusing the small amount of evidence th ...more
I actually couldn't finish this book. I kept getting caught by the author on one page deploring other scientists' narrow sightedness in not accepting new theories, and in the next chapter explaining all the reasons why it was absolutely impossible that humans and Neanderthals interbred. granted, the strongest evidence showing Neanderthal genes in Europeans came soon after this book was published, but the signs were there in 2009. the author's ego, as well as his habit of jumping forward and back ...more
The common view of Neaderthals, at least in popular society, is that of dumb brutes who were conquered by our ancestors' superior mental capacities and skills. Many are probably influenced by Clan of the Cave Bear, in which the Neaderthals were dark, hulking, and relatively unintelligent compared to the blonde, beautiful, willowy, and smart Daryl Hannah.

But what if none of that was true?

Finlayson argues that we are "children of chance," that our ancestors weren't necessarily superior to the Nea
John Tarttelin
Mar 28, 2014 John Tarttelin rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in human and Neanderthal origins and prehistory
I really enjoyed reading this book because it successfully challenged the Out of Africa thesis that has now become a dogma among the archeological community. I have also just read Chris Stringer's equally interesting volume The Origin Of Species. Stringer describes his Out of Africa 2 thesis, claiming that modern humans originated from an African diaspora c. 55,000 years ago but finishes his book by admitting that the recent discoveries of small hominids in Flores 2004 are totally left out of hi ...more
A. J.
3.5 stars. Nice summary of aspects of human evolution. We have a paucity of artefacts, fossils... and yet many "experts" over interpet the limited data to paint a complete picture. Finlayson displays such predictions as going a bit too far on too limited information. He often then guesses as to what the limited data mean as well. He has good rationale, logic... but alas as he points out, there is little hard data to work with. A good read.
"No hemos de olvidar que somos el producto de gentes marginales que tuvieron que improvisar mucho para salir adelante. La cultura y la tecnología nos ofrecieron la gran oportunidad de reaccionar al cambio climático y ambiental mucho más rápidamente de lo que lo podían hacer nuestros genes."

Siguiendo la corriente actual en Prehistoria de acompañar a la arqueología y la paleontología de todas las ciencias posibles en busca de una explicación más completa de lo que pudo pasar durante la evolución d
Incredibly interesting if you're into general and human evolution, volcanoes, climate change, animal extinctions. A very well-written and engaging book, bringing all the recent findings in the field together. I really enjoyed it!

Cool read, though you will have to wade through some material to get to the good stuff. A great overview, though.
Konrad Godlewski
One of the most intriguing thoughts haunting the book touches the question of 'luck'. Neanderthals died out because they found themselves in bad place, bad time. Our ancestors made it by the mere chance of fortune. 'Survival of the luckiest' theory, known in evelutionary biology from the founder effect, here is interestingly proved with paleontological findings.

However, book lacks coherent argument and experienced editor could have easliy shape it into masterpiece, just asking author few simple
An interesting take on human evolution and why the marginalised will inherit the Earth.
Alan   Mauldin
The author, Clive Finlayson, writes clearly about a complex subject. At the end of each chapter he gives a summary of the preceding pages and explains how the previous material leads into the next chapter.
I also like the way he describes the evidence available for certain populations, gives some of the various hypotheses and then gives his opinion. He also cautions about extrapolating too much when the evidence is limited or inconclusive.
Overall, it is a brief (220 pages), but thorough look at
Cooper Renner
As usual with books "about" the Neanderthals, not nearly enough of the book is about the Neanderthals, but rather with the evolutionary tree out of which they came, and the conditions in Eurasia and Africa before, during and after their time period. But still, it's a thoughtful and interesting book, and serves the fine person of pointing out that it's foolish to imagine that human evolution is a simple direct-line path, but rather that different sorts of people--all of them in the Homo line--exi ...more
Frank Roberts
Finally a level-headed, very well thought-out, assessment of why one Homo sapiens group (that'd be us) gained ascendancy over all the others during the late Pleistocene. It's also a swift kick to the jimmies of all those paleoanthropologists who insist the rise of modern H. sapiens was the result of our superior intellect or better technologies. Or our better hunting strategies and ability to eat everyone else's food. Or our pioneering spirit and knack for conquering, marginalizing and generally ...more
Tory W
I really hate this book!!!!!!!!!!

Does this author suffer from A.D.D.? Actually, it should be against the law to write a book as badly as this one has been written.

This author is all over the place. I realize he is writing about evolution, but this book has NO continuity whatsoever, and not especially linear in its timeline.

To give two such examples: if you go into the index and look up Homo erectus, -first appearance,
He discusses this on pages 54 and 77.

Then if you also look up Homo erectus, -g
Chris Demer
A sometimes difficult read, this book nonetheless has some really interesting hypotheses about humans and Neanderthals.

First, that Neanderthals were human, and although they lived for hundreds of thousands of years, succumbed to the vagaries of climate change in the end. Another important point: they were no more or less intelligent than ourselves. They mastered difficult terrain, ice ages and developed group hunting techniques and had language. The verdict is still out as to whether they ever
Adebayo Oyagbola

If some humans went extinct then we are the most successful humans as we are the only ones left! Right? No, wrong. When we look at the statistics we will see that our specie's period inhabiting the earth is a lot shorter, thus far, than the span of existence of several of the other human species who have trodden the earth both before and, in at least one case, partially contemporaneously with us. The usual estimate is that homo sapiens has been here for perhaps 120,000 years. This is definitely
I found this expose to be pretty interesting. I love anthropology so this book is right up my alley. The idea of Neanderthals is so enticing. Who are they? Did modern humans have contact with them? Where did they go? This book isn't so much about Neanderthals as it is about the evolution and geographic spread of humanity, in all its types. Finlayson deconstructs the accepted theories of the development of human beings and how they packed up and left Africa. The standard belief is that more evolv ...more
Alison Dellit
This book is an attempt to replicate the approach of Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel, to explain why 'Cro-Magnon' survived and Neanderthals didn't. It's an interesting idea, and I really wish it had worked better than it did.

The book is lush with climate and geographic description and explanation, and it felt close to palaeontology works (non-human) I've read in approach - assuming as a start point that evolutionary adaptation happens in response to specific environments. It was very helpf
Will Robinson
There has been a lot of new information from the Paleoanthropological world of late regarding our much maligned cousins, the Neanderthals. I have a soft spot in my heart for these guys and gals instilled by my physical anthropology undergrad past examining their generous occipital bun, small chin, large nasal opening and famous, short, sloping forehead represented in the skull casts that I used to handle. And recently I read a fairly decent little book on our cousins entitled, The Humans Who Wen ...more
First off, I must admit I own a BS in Anthropology. My review may be a little biased because of that. That being said, I do believe this is a good book for anything looking to learn more about the evolution of our species. While the author presents many theories as why modern humans emerged as the sole surviving species, these theories are not new. That was my mine gripe about the book, I personally thought it didn't bring anything new to the argument.

My second gripe with the book was how mislea
Interesting approach to the so explored subject of our ancestors. The author, with a zoological background more than a paleoanthropological, as the usual writer of this kind of books, gives a fresh approach to the question of how human evolution took place and why is it that Homo Sapiens is the current representative of the humans and not other of the countless lineages. The response the author gives is, as in any other animal, a mixture of ecological changes and luck -being in the right time at ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 36 37 next »
  • The Last Human: A Guide to Twenty-Two Species of Extinct Humans
  • Cro-Magnon: How the Ice Age Gave Birth to the First Modern Humans
  • Masters of the Planet
  • Lone Survivors: How We Came to Be the Only Humans on Earth
  • After the Ice: A Global Human History 20,000-5000 BC
  • The Wisdom of the Bones: In Search of Human Origins
  • The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution
  • The First Human: The Race to Discover Our Earliest Ancestors
  • Deep Ancestry: Inside the Genographic Project
  • Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors
  • The Dawn of Human Culture
  • Evolution The Human Story
  • Inside the Neolithic Mind: Consciousness, Cosmos, and the Realm of the Gods
  • Mapping Human History: Genes, Race, and Our Common Origins
  • The Neandertal Enigma: Solving the Mystery of Human Origins
  • The Link: Uncovering Our Earliest Ancestor
  • The Sixth Extinction: Patterns of Life and the Future of Humankind
  • Richard Dawkins: How a Scientist Changed the Way We Think
The Improbable Primate: How Water Shaped Human Evolution Neanderthals and Modern Humans: An Ecological and Evolutionary Perspective Avian Survivors: Climate Change and the History of the Birds of the Western Palearctic Birds of the Strait of Gibraltar Improbable Primate: How Water Shaped Human Evolution

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“¿Por qué estamos aquí nosotros, y no los neandertales? [...] fuimos afortunados por haber estado en los lugares adecuados en los momentos oportunos.” 4 likes
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