A preeminent geneticist hunts the Neanderthal genome to answer the biggest question of them all: What does it mean to be human?
What can we learn from the genes of our closest evolutionary relatives? Neanderthal Man tells the story of geneticist Svante Pbo’s mission to answer that question, beginning with the study of DNA in Egyptian mummies in the early 1980s and culminating in his sequencing of the Neanderthal genome in 2009. From Pbo, we learn how Neanderthal genes offer a unique window into the lives of our hominin relatives and may hold the key to unlocking the mystery of why humans survived while Neanderthals went extinct. Drawing on genetic and fossil clues, Pbo explores what is known about the origin of modern humans and their relationship to the Neanderthals and describes the fierce debate surrounding the nature of the two species’ interactions.
A riveting story about a visionary researcher and the nature of scientific inquiry, Neanderthal Man offers rich insight into the fundamental question of who we are.
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Excellent science tale
- Neuron "Family father, neuroscientist, and non-fiction addict."
Not what I thought
It would depend on who that friend was!
Very very technical but still I caught a lot of it because he describes things very well. I have a mere bachelors degree so this was... a lot for me. I by no means caught it all but did learn a lot.
I really thought this would be more about our ancient ancestors and Neanderthals and give a lot of details about the past. Instead it is very autobiographical and primarily about the author's (admittedly) interesting career and life. As a result I have learned A TON about the science behind the dating of ancient artifacts and fossils. If you are not in the science field it could also be an eye-opening view into the nature of research... rustling up funding and the race to publish... the competition etc.
It's not what I thought it would be but it has definitely been interesting and I have learned new things. Boy do I wish I were smarter though...