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The Invaders: How Humans and Their Dogs Drove Neanderthals to Extinction
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The Invaders: How Humans and Their Dogs Drove Neanderthals to Extinction

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  298 ratings  ·  65 reviews
With their large brains, sturdy physique, sophisticated tools, and hunting skills, Neanderthals are the closest known relatives to humans. Approximately 200,000 years ago, as modern humans began to radiate out from their evolutionary birthplace in Africa, Neanderthals were already thriving in Europe--descendants of a much earlier migration of the African genus Homo. But wh ...more
Hardcover, First Printing, 266 pages
Published March 10th 2015 by Belknap Press
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3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  298 ratings  ·  65 reviews

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Gilda Felt
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
There are several intriguing ideas regarding how the histories of three species, Neanderthal, human, and wolf, came together. Though I suppose collided would describe it better. I was especially taken with how the author names human as the invasive species that they were, invading new lands and bringing about the demise of the indigenous species, a legacy we seem to have carried on. And the theory makes more sense to me than that climate change brought about Neaderthal’s extinction, as they had ...more
Aug 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I think the title is a little deceptive. If you are interested In good general interest history in how the Neanderthals and Homo sapiens hashed it out in Europe back in the day then this book is not for you (or me). You can find out all you can learn from this book by reading a review or publishers summary. Unfortunately like many books written by academics the essential thesis of the book - dogs plus people = advantage over Neanderthals - is interesting but ragged out over too many pages in min ...more
Jun 26, 2018 rated it liked it
As other reviewers have already pointed out, the title of this book is something of a misnomer. The bulk of the text concerns itself with the Neanderthal extinction and establishing the fact that it was already well under way prior to homo sapiens migrating into Eurasia. The book is a bit more suited to an academic audience than a lay audience, and serves as a very nice technical guide to the varying pressures exerted upon prehistoric megafauna and Neanderthals by climate change, the resulting c ...more
Nov 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
I had high hopes for this book but ended up feeling pretty ambivalent about it. From the beginning, the story is obviously headed towards trying to convince us that wolves were domesticated and used by humans for hunting in a way that contributed to the decline of Neanderthals. Shipman never makes the case in a convincing manner. It comes across as a way for a retired academic to publish an idea that the peer-reviewed literative would never have allowed. Nevertheless, it does highlight some inte ...more
Apr 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
Not as ground-breaking as I'd hoped. Clan of the Cave Bear series covered all these topics (admittedly fictionalized but based on solid research). This was no fun unless you're a scientist interested in reading about various studies on the history.
Mar 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Reminds me of "Guns, Germs, and Steel"
Christopher Hellstrom
Nov 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Interesting theory about the blood pact between humans and pooches to gang up on Neanderthals. Not convinced it is true. I think I saw my Yorkie nodding in solidarity as I was reading it though.
T.R. Cross
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I feel like this book could be subdivided into two distinct arguments. 1) Humans caused, though we're not the only cause, of the decline and extinction of Neandertals. 2) The specific advantage that aided humans was the alliance they formed with another Eurasian apex predator, the wolf. That the domestication of the wolf and the creation of the dog was the deciding factor. While I feel Shipman makes a compelling case for the first argument, I don't feel she quite makes the case for the second. T ...more
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
This brief book posits that human beings function like invasive species, and after establishing a few housekeeping facts (the background of climate change, the available evidence for judging human / neanderthal populations and their diets) argues that humans and Neanderthals were competing for the same space in some regions of the globe, rather like wolves and coyotes, and that humans drove neanderthals out because of their advanced tool usage and domestication of wolves. While Neanderthals did ...more
Pfano Percy
We are a self-serving species. Period. We are fierce animals that will get rid of anything we don't understand, much worse, anything that threatens satisfactions of our needs, wants and pleasures. The process is Domestication and breeding followed by taming and exploitation.

Those that we can't domesticate, we kill. Those we tame, entertain us and serve us as slaves. Animals make up for all our weaknesses. Their Strength, their senses and their energies
May 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is the kind of book I really like to read now and then--speculation based on the latest scientific findings. Shipman deals with the long-standing question of what happened to the Neanderthals, our closest relatives, who, like us modern humans, had large brains, toolmaking abilities, and hunting skills. But they are the ones who disappeared...
Using knowledge that we've gained about invasive species, Shipman makes the argument that early H. sapiens ( we used to call them Cro-Magnon Men) mov
Jun 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio, 2015-reads
I've been meaning to read Svante Paabo for some time and Chris Stringer's Lone Survivors for even longer - but an Overdrive audio copy of this came across my screen and I'd remembered Pat Shipman's name from when I was an anthropology student. This is a a popularized scholarly text like the other two books. I'm not sure I like the marketing decision of Belknap Press (aka Harvard) to bring dogs into the subtitle or the dramatic cover art, and the cover version for my audiobook is crazier (that se ...more
Cody Macdermid
Apr 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
I had the desire to read this book for quite some time, and this was due to Shipman appearing on an episode of Quirks and Quarks (amazing podcast, by the way). The result was a tedious desire for something more. The bulk of the book is basically an introductory to anthropology, and this wouldn't bother me so much if it wasn't the majority the book. There were points reading this where I was like:
"Where are the dogs?"
"What is she going on about?"
"Why is it taking so long to get to the fucking dog
It's hard for me to review a science-based non-fiction speculation on prehistory, but...the title and cover really implied there'd be more dogs in it. You don't get to the dogs until about 80% of the way through the book, and even then there is very little written to support the subtitle of "How humans and their dogs drove Neanderthals to extinction." I realize this title was probably a marketing choice (put a dog on the cover and people will read it) but I was hoping for, as the book itself put ...more
Sara V.
Jun 22, 2017 rated it liked it
A "prosumer" discussion of Neanderthal extinction and the domestication of dogs by modern humans.

Presents an intriguing theory, but the theory isn't really enough to fill a book, and so the text is somewhat repetitive without bringing a lot of new information to the table.

Someone who hasn't read a lot of recent non-academic discussion of the latest knowledge about Neanderthal sites, dating, etc won't get a good picture of what we know, and someone who *has* read up will be saying "yes, yes, I
Denis Tarahno
Dec 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Крайне интересная (возможно, только лишь потому, что это первая для меня лично книга на подобную тему) работа в виде гипотезы исчезновения неандертальцев, как результата объединения "современного homo sapiensa" с волками, а точнее с волкособаками.
В целом же, очень много увлекательного научного матеариала на тему инвазивных видов животных, примеры генетически-эволюционных процессов, да и просто описание быта тех времён и краткий альманах перемещений человека по этому миру.
Oct 11, 2017 rated it did not like it
Just read the last chapter, it describes the whole book
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Puiki knyga, paaiškinanti (mėginanti paaiškinti) kaip ir kodėl - išnyko neandertaliečiais ir dar visa plejada "aukštųjų plėšrūnų", kaip urviniai lokiai, kardadančiai tigrai, gauruotieji raganosiai, urviniai liūtai, hienos ir kt., o išlikę lokiai paprastieji turėjo keisti savo dietą į labiau vegetarišką (kitaip irgi būtų išnykę).
Labai sąžiningai (vietomis gal per nuodugniai prie lėkštesnio teksto pratusiam skaitytojui) surašyta kaip ir kokiais metodais nustatinėjamos neanderatliečių išnykimo prie
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
While I learned a ton from this book about the various hypotheses about when and where and why the Neandertals took the nose dive into extinction, the book's title is highly misleading.

For instance, it takes 12 chapters (out of 15) before Shipman gets to the ideas of how wolf-dogs were first domesticated. These chapters are great. The notion that because humans have white scleras, this genetic development lead to more cooperation and nonverbal communication among individuals. Coupled with the f
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Starts out with dogs as the focus, then goes thru a lot of details about the humans occuping the stage, the weather, then winds up the last chapters with a return to dogs.
So, a bit long-winded with regards to the changing peoples and environment, but its the route chosen, and it finally all makes sense in the end.
As a dog lover, it rang true to my 'deep thoughts' regarding dogs, but this was completely up-ended, by another book I just read. "How the dog became the dog"

Somewhere between the two-
Imran Ruhul
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
A brilliant book it is! It puts forward some interesting arguments about the extinction of Neanderthals. Although some ideas are difficult enough to prove due to insufficient fossil records, the author shows various other aspects in support of his hypotheses. The book excellently expresses the invading characteristics of modern humans, their arrival to Eurasia, fossil records of humans and Neanderthals' settlements, their hunting and dining pattern, the contradictory ideas of paleoanthropologist ...more
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
I have an interest in prehistoric hunters and their tools i.e. spears,atlatl and the use of fire and charcoal they used and was disappointed more attention was not devoted to them or to dogs.I don't even know why dogs were included in the title.This books is more of geographic timeline of early man.While I am not sorry I read it,it did give me some of my own new ideas and theories of what could have transpired several hundred thousand years ago.
Takeo Kondo
Dec 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Domestication of dogs by modern human, Homo Sapience, was the main reason why Neanderthals went to extinction, the author argues.
The author should have mentioned how nomad people maintained their power until seven or so hundred years ago.
As we all know by the example of Mongol Empire, until we developed guns, nomad controlled the whole Eurasia except Europe and Japan.
I agree that the men with dogs were very effective against the men without dogs.

Nelson Wattie
Jun 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
In a small compass this book provides much to think about. Although its main focus and binding theme is the extinction of our fellow humans, the Neanderthals, and the reasons for it, from that centre it spreads out into a wide range of information and speculation, all adding up to a rich picture of the state of knowledge and theory about “invasion biology” and related topics.
To illustrate the complex of themes, Shipman considers the elimination and later reintroduction of wolves in Yellowstone N
Andrea Hickman Walker
Pat Shipman is always good, and this is a particularly fascinating subject. The only thing I didn't like was the fact that the narrator had a tendency to sound stilted, like a computer generated voice often does.
Pamela Hale
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
This reads like a dissertation. Unfortunate because the subject itself is fascinating. I must say that Jean Auel's book "Clan of the Cave Bear" written in 1980 had the same research and information PLUS a great storyline.
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Just as I thought. Invasive Homo Sapiens and his damned dogs are responsible for the trophic cascade that obliterated Neanderthals, Mammoths, cave bears, Sabre tooth cats, woolly rhinos and many more. Chock full of data that proves it, too.
Kirk Astroth
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Interesting read about how humans impacted the survival of Neandertals and fauna of the time.
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting book about Neanderthal human competition from the point of view of invasion biology.
Feb 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting hypothesis by the author but the case put forth (and I’m sure the author would agree) is far from incontrovertible.
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Pat Shipman is a professor of anthropology at Penn State University. Coauthor of the award-winning The Ape in the Tree, she writes for American Scientist and lives in Moncure, North Carolina.