BOOK REVIEW: How To Think Like A Neandertal by Thomas Wynn and Frederick Coolidge | Science News

ADVERTISEMENT

MISSION CRITICAL

Support credible science journalism.

Subscribe to Science News today.


Reviews & Previews

BOOK REVIEW: How To Think Like A Neandertal by Thomas Wynn and Frederick Coolidge

Review by Bruce Bower

By
12:28pm, December 30, 2011

A Neandertal raised in a human family would make a great fishing boat captain but a lousy police officer. He or she could call on extensive knowledge of local sea conditions and an ease in dealing with small crews, but an inability to read strangers’ motives and recognize their lies would doom a Neandertal patrolling city streets.

So say psychologist Coolidge and archaeologist Wynn, who boldly transform studies of stones, bones and molecules into educated guesstimates about Neandertal thinking and personality.

In the authors’ view, Neandertals lived in small groups and fashioned versatile stone tools, excelling at learning complex procedures and remembering task-relevant information but almost never innovating. They used spears to kill mammoths at close range, a dangerous pursuit that left behind few elders to pass on wisdom. Surrounded by family and friends, Neande

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from this issue of Science News

[title_1]
From the Nature Index Paid Content