The Singing Neanderthals: The Origins of Music, Language, Mind and Body

Front Cover
Orion, Dec 30, 2011 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 384 pages

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.

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - vguy - LibraryThing

Wonderful synthesis of prehistory, archaeological detail, neuroscience, psychology, communication, the whole shebang, all with a light touch and flashes of humour. Neatly skirts the "pop science ... Read full review

The singing neanderthals: the origins of music, language, mind, and body

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Mithen (The Prehistory of Mind; After the Ice) draws on archaeological record and current research on neurology and genetics to explain how and why humans think, talk and make music the way they do ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (2011)

Steven Mithen is Professor of Early Prehistory and Head of the School of Human and Environmental Sciences at the University of Reading.

Bibliographic information