Neanderthal Man: In Search of Lost Genomes
by Svante Pääbo, director of the Department of Genetics at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.
Neanderthal Man tells the story of geneticist Svante Pääbo’s mission to answer this question: what can we learn from the genomes of our closest evolutionary relatives? Beginning with the study of DNA in Egyptian mummies in the early 1980s and culminating in the sequencing of the Neanderthal genome in 2010, Neanderthal Man describes the events, intrigues, failures, and triumphs of these scientifically rich years through the lens of the pioneer and inventor of the field of ancient DNA. We learn that Neanderthal genes offer a unique window into the lives of our hominid relatives and may hold the key to unlocking the mystery of why humans survived while Neanderthals went extinct. Pääbo’s findings have not only redrawn our family tree, but recast the fundamentals of human history–the biological beginnings of fully modern Homo sapiens, the direct ancestors of all people alive today.
“[T]his book is a vibrant testimonial to what might be the greatest creation of modern humans: the scientific method.” –Salon