The Singing Neanderthals

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9780753820513

Price: £14.99

ON SALE: 8th November 2012

Genre: Mathematics & Science

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A fascinating and incisive examination of our language instinct from award-winning science writer Steven Mithen.

Along with the concepts of consciousness and intelligence, our capacity for language sits right at the core of what makes us human. But while the evolutionary origins of language have provoked speculation and impassioned debate, music has been neglected if not ignored. Like language it is a universal feature of human culture, one that is a permanent fixture in our daily lives.

In THE SINGING NEANDERTHALS, Steven Mithen redresses the balance, drawing on a huge range of sources, from neurological case studies through child psychology and the communication systems of non-human primates to the latest paleoarchaeological evidence.

The result is a fascinating and provocative work and a succinct riposte to those, like Steven Pinker, who have dismissed music as a functionless and unimportant evolutionary byproduct.


There is much illuminating and thought-provoking material.
Ross Leckie, THE TIMES
An interesting attempt to probe the long-term history of feeling as well as of thought... [This] book is intelligent, important and clear. Anyone who likes to ask broad questions about intelligence, religion and experience, as well as anyone interested in long-term human history, will be able to read and argue with [this] book with enjoyment and profit.
THES (3/3/06)
Wonderfully evocative... a highly original view of our musical origins.
GUARDIAN (1/4/06)