The Neanderthals

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Neanderthals.In 1856, quarry workers in Germany found bones in a cave which seemed to belong to a bear or other large mammal. They were later identified as being from a previously unknown species of hominid similar to a human. The specimen was named Homo neanderthalis after the valley in which the bones were found.This was the first identified remains of a Neanderthal, a species which inhabited parts of Europe and Central Asia from around 400,000 years ago. Often depicted as little more advanced than apes, Neanderthals were in fact sophisticated, highly-evolved hunters capable of making tools and even jewellery.Scholarship has established much about how and where the Neanderthals lived - but the reasons for their disappearance from the planet around 28,000 years ago remain unclear.

Play on BBC Sounds website


  • Simon Conway Morris 4 episodes
    Professor of Evolutionary Palaeobiology at the University of Cambridge
  • Chris Stringer No other episodes
    Research Leader in Human Origins at the Natural History Museum and Visiting Professor at Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Danielle Schreve No other episodes
    Reader in Physical Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London

Related episodes

Programme ID: b00sq1nv

Episode page:

Auto-category: 569.9 (Fossil hominids)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. In 1856 in the Neander Valley near Dusseldorf, workers quarrying limestone stumbled across some old bones which they assumed to be the remains of a bear.