The Last Neanderthal
The Rise, Success, and Mysterious Extinction of Our Closest Human Relatives

Ian Tattersall

“Laden with color photographs of remarkable fossil remains and artifacts, this gorgeous book brings to life our elusive and profoundly compelling prehistoric relatives.”
Science News

Reconstructed Neanderthal skeleton.

Neanderthal. There’s not a noun as evocative in the entire lexicon of science, but apart from vague imputations of primitive brutishness how many of us can really specify what that term evokes or should evoke? No early human relative has triggered more scientific debate or more strongly captured our imagination than Neanderthal Man. Why, after brilliantly surviving several severe Ice Age glaciations to thrive for 400,000 years—twice as long as modern humans have been on Earth—did Neanderthals suddenly drop out of sight? That they disappeared astonishingly recently—less than 30,000 years ago, just when Homo sapiens were appearing in Europe—makes the mystery even more tantalizing.

Written by one of the world’s leading authorities, The Last Neanderthal paints the first full—and fully illustrated—portrait of the most familiar and haunting of human relatives, the Neanderthals. Assembled for this book is an unparalleled collection of fossil and archaeological materials. This breadth and quality of visual documentation of Neanderthals is not available from any other source. Weaving together the archaeological and fossil evidence with the lessons of evolutionary theory, Tattersall draws on the latest knowledge about how Neanderthals evolved and lived to solve the riddle of how they died. His vivid account brings the Neanderthal back to life for us.

Rights available: World

Giant Cave Bear (Ursus spelaeus)


208 pages
140 color plates
8-5/8 x 11-1/2 inches; 209 x 294 mm
Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds

Ian Tattersall, Curator of the Department of Anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and adjunct professor at Columbia, is a revered authority on Neanderthals and is the author of The Fossil Trail, The Human Odyssey, co-editor of Encyclopedia of Human Evolution and Prehistory, and co-author (with Niles Eldredge) of The Myths of Human Evolution.


“In a richly illustrated and wide ranging survey, [Tattersall] concludes that we can use Neanderthals as a mirror to ponder our own position in evolutionary history. Such reflection is assisted not only by excellent color plates, which present the skulls as art objects, but also by a succinct account of how evolution works and can be applied to the five million years of the hominid fossil record.”

Neanderthal skull from Amud, Israel.

“Anyone interested in the study of human origins will be interested in this book. It is loaded with scientific information and is written in a wonderfully easy-to-read style....This book is definitely one for a permanent library.”
The Science Teacher

“Tattersall excels as he conveys the essentials of the technical literature to the public...Abundant full-page photos of specimens and archaeological digs cement Tattersall’s clarity on the topic, making this an immeasurable aid to students and armchair anthropologists alike.”
Chicago Booklist

“[Tattersall] does an excellent job of discussing what is known and cautiously speculated from fossil evidence. The Last Neanderthal will be irresistible to anyone interested in science or evolution.”
Sun-Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale

“This intense, illustrated consideration of the origins and extinction of early Man uses recent discoveries to explain why Neanderthals continue to be so perplexing a scientific mystery. This includes plenty of background history to probe both the foundations for past and present theories and the likely applications of new scientific research and discoveries.”
Midwest Book Review


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