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)