Case Study 18. Neanderthals in the Mirror: Imagining our Relatives

  • John H. Langdon


Anyone who views hominin fossils has a desire to see them fleshed out. What did extinct species look like? How did they behave? Anthropologists and artists who try to answer these questions for us need quite a bit of license for their imagination, and often the results tell as much about modern humans as they do prehistoric ones. Of the extinct species, Neanderthals have been known and imagined the longest and have experienced the greatest number changes in their image. For the first half of the twentieth century, they were seen as primitive brutes next to civilized Cro-Magnon people. That image improved as perception of human nature took a turn for the worse. A new, humanized understanding of Neanderthals coincided with remarkable discoveries at Shanidar Cave.


Neanderthals Shanidar Cave Marcellin Boule Erik Trinkaus Paleopathology 

Additional Reading

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • John H. Langdon
    • 1
  1. 1.University of IndianapolisIndianapolisUSA

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