The Singing Neanderthals: the origins of music, language, mind and body by Steven Mithen. Published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson 2005. Hardback with dust jacket. In very good condition
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, those of that other aural and vocal communication system, music, have been neglected if not ignored. Like language it is a universal feature of human culture, one that is a permanent feature of our daily lives and one that is capable of both expressing and inducing intense emotion. In The Singing Neanderthal, 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 by-product.