By Rebecca Wragg Sykes,

Book cover of Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art

Book description

** WINNER OF THE PEN HESSELL-TILTMAN PRIZE 2021 ** 'Beautiful, evocative, authoritative.' Professor Brian Cox 'Important reading not just for anyone interested in these ancient cousins of ours, but also for anyone interested in humanity.' Yuval Noah Harari Kindred is the definitive guide to the Neanderthals. Since their discovery more…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked Kindred as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

There’s a lot of thoughtless talk by techno-optimistic philosophers about futures in which we all get to become superintelligent and live for thousands of years if we can apply the right tech to ourselves.

Sykes describes fascinating research on the Neanderthals, beings who were almost, but not quite, us. Reading her book, I wondered what it might have been like to grow up as the child of a union between a Homo sapiens and a Neanderthal. I found this especially useful when we consider future relationships between people determined to remain human and others who want tech to make them…

From Nicholas' list on how technology could change humanity.

British Paleo-Archaeologist Rebecca Wragg Sykes’s compelling book combines hard science, tantalizingly reasonable postulations, and poetry. It appeals to our “humanity.” Kindred is an almost wistful examination of our closest Hominid relatives - the Neanderthals. For over 300,000 years, Homo Neanderthalensis successfully survived several ice ages and drastic changes in weather, food sources, and landscape. Although they are not manifestly with us now, they exist in our imagination and provoke our curiosity.

We want to know them; Neanderthal genes still survive among our own. Sykes introduces our Neanderthal cousins, fleshing out their bones by bringing their appearance, their everyday tasks, their…

This is my leftfield choice, as Wragg Sykes’s book is a history of our lost Eurasian ancestors, the Neanderthals. But climate change is a very real and foreboding presence throughout this book. Neanderthals lived through major, rapid changes in climate, from temperate forests to the deep freeze of ice ages, and survived. Reading about how past humans lived through climate crisis gives some hope, but also brings home the sobering reality of what it takes and what is lost.

From Tim's list on the climate crisis.

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