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Cro-Magnons were the first fully modern Europeans?not only the creators of the stunning cave paintings at Lascaux and elsewhere, but the most adaptable and technologically inventive people that had yet lived on earth. The prolonged encounter between the Cro-Magnons and the archaic Neanderthals and between 45,000 and 30,000 years ago was one of the defining moments of histoCro-Magnons were the first fully modern Europeans?not only the creators of the stunning cave paintings at Lascaux and elsewhere, but the most adaptable and technologically inventive people that had yet lived on earth. The prolonged encounter between the Cro-Magnons and the archaic Neanderthals and between 45,000 and 30,000 years ago was one of the defining moments of history. The Neanderthals survived for some 15,000 years in the face of the newcomers, but were finally pushed aside by the Cro-Magnons' vastly superior intellectual abilities and cutting-edge technologies, which allowed them to thrive in the intensely challenging climate of the Ice Age.What do we know about this remarkable takeover? Who were the first modern Europeans and what were they like? How did they manage to thrive in such an extreme environment? And what legacy did they leave behind them after the cold millennia? The age of the Cro-Magnons lasted some 30,000 years?longer than all of recorded history. Cro-Magnon is the story of a little known, yet seminal, chapter of human experience....

Title : Cro-Magnon: How the Ice Age Gave Birth to the First Modern Humans
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ISBN : 9781596915824
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Cro-Magnon: How the Ice Age Gave Birth to the First Modern Humans Reviews

  • Jason Koivu
    2019-03-27 11:19

    A heavy-browed, hirsute hunter crouches among the undergrowth frozen still...…silently observing an encampment of creatures much like himself……yet decidedly different in their features, the very shape of their heads, their more intricate tools, sharper and finer weaponry, their almost tailored clothing, the utterly foreign sounds they speak, so different are they in fact that the hunter does not recognize them as kindred beings. He is Neanderthal, a dying race that survived mostly unchanged for hundreds of thousands of years. And these "others"? They are Cro-magnon, the forefathers of modern man. And DNA evidence suggests there may be no link between the two. In such a manner begins Brian Fagan's Cro-Magnon: How the Ice Age Gave Birth to the First Modern Humans, diving into the face to face meeting of the past and future, of who we could have been descended from and who we did draw our heritage from. Then he goes into the whys, why did this new breed of human survive while the other died out. Many fascinating topics covering our birth as a people are discussed here in, and made possible by recent and ongoing research, new techniques of which are unearthing truths and dashing away old myths. That last point was my reason for picking up this book. So much of this information is new and replaces a lot of faulty info foisted upon me in school. I wanted to fill in the gaps of my less than stellar educational efforts back in elementary school, as well as to correct some of the misinformation I picked up when I was paying attention. Fagan provides a great history lesson, using relatively lively scenes depicted now and then between his lectures, and though it's like any other nonfiction book, lectures they essentially are, for lecturing is what Fagan does at the University of California at Santa Barbara, my sort of second home (the town, not the school).Historians and history lovers are going to gobble this up from cover to cover, but for those with a lower threshold for a dry history lesson there are sections of Cro-Magnon that will range from "late August in Arizona" dry to "Sahara desert on a hot tin roof" dry.I love me some history big time and I really liked this book, however, I feel like I know more now about Cro-magnon man than I'll ever need to know. And it's the kind of knowledge that's probably only going to come in handy at pub quizzes.

  • L Timmel
    2019-03-07 11:41

    This is an embarrassingly bad book. The last sentence of the book sums up the whole sorry mess: "My [white European] DNA tells me I'm one of them, and I'm proud of it." The book is laden with the author's romantic adolescent male fantasies about what it was like being a cro-magnon man-- emphasis on "man." His typical fantasy involves a young man shooting birds with arrows while his "sister" (Fagan's choice of word) retrieves them. Another: "The man paddling in the bow, his wife in the stern..." My favorite is his assertion that all the women remained in the camp while the men are off hunting, a place redolent of the smell of urine, used to tan hides (which he believes the women spent all day crouched on their haunches, bent over pelts, tirelessly toiling the livelong day to keep the family in shoes & furs). Basically, he assumes a 1950s sit-com set of family & gender relations prevailed during the Paleolithic. (I kept thinking his imagination didn't rise much above the Flinstones.) All the wise elders are, of course, men, handing down their accumulated knowledge & wisdom to the boys. Apart from that, the author is unable to talk about technology without using modern anachronisms-- his favorite being the "swiss army knife" the men all possessed for undertaking their sophisticated feats of hunting. Seriously, give this one a miss if you're really interested in the Paleolithic.

  • Dianne
    2019-03-21 11:20

    While some of the information in this book is out of date ( ex. we know now that Neanderthals did mate with Cro Magnons and were apparently smarter than we had given them credit for), it was still a worthwhile read. He paints a good picture of the daily lives of the prehistoric peoples in Europe. They faced amazingly difficult climactic changes and managed to survive for thousands of years.

  • Richard Reese
    2019-03-15 10:20

    Once upon a time, long, long ago, musicians Stephen Stills and Judy Collins enjoyed a romance. Then, Judy sailed away and broke his heart. Stephen wrote Suite: Judy Blue Eyes, which I recently heard again. One line made my head spin: “Don’t let the past remind us of what we are not now.” Why not? Remembering the past sounds like an excellent idea. What we are not now is wild and free human beings — normal & authentic.I just finished Brian Fagan’s book, Cro-Magnon, which describes an important segment of my family history. The happy news is that there have been three studies of the mitochondrial DNA of modern Europeans, and their genes are primarily indigenous. The invading farmers from the Fertile Crescent did not exterminate the natives. The genes of the eastern immigrants are somewhere between 15% and 28% of the modern European DNA. It staggers the imagination to contemplate the astonishing wildness, beauty, and vitality of Ice Age Europe. It’s heartbreaking — and illuminating — when these grand memories remind us of what we are not now. After reading the book, I feel a much stronger connection to the ancient cave paintings. Those artists were my ancestors, and their images belong in the family album. My people once lived in lands inhabited by wooly mammoths, aurochs, bison, and vast herds of reindeer. They lived beside streams that thundered during salmon runs. This gave me a sense of homecoming, a powerful remembering.Fagan does a nice job of describing the world of the Ice Age, and the wild swings of the climate — growing glaciers & melting glaciers. When the climate warmed, the hunters and their game moved north, and when frigid times returned, they moved south. The hunters followed the meat, and the meat followed the grass.“There were at least fifteen to twenty short-term events when temperatures were up to 44.5 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius) warmer than during the intervening colder intervals.” The climate could swing from pleasant to freezing over the course of a lifetime. Siberia was once a tropical forest, the Sahara once had lakes and grasslands, and there was a time when you could walk from France to England.The sad news is that the hunting tribes of Europe became farmers. This may have been similar to the spread of corn from Mexico to the tribes of the north — an amazing innovation that bit us on the ass, and cast wicked shadows on the unborn generations. Fagan helped me to better understand the transition to agriculture, in which ongoing innovation in hunting technology played a leading role.All hominids have African ancestors. Some of them migrated to Asia, where Neanderthals first walked onto the stage. Some Neanderthals moved to Europe maybe 300,000 years ago, where they hung out in cool temperate forests. Their primary weapon was a heavy thrusting spear with a sharp fire-hardened tip. These were great for killing large slow-moving animals. Fagan believes that the Neanderthals were luckless dullards, because they displayed almost no innovative cleverness over vast spans of time. They were simple and stable, and their dance on this planet may have been far longer than ours will turn out to be — and they didn’t destroy paradise. What dreary boors!“Cro-Magnon” refers only to the Homo sapiens clans that inhabited Europe, but our species originally emerged in Africa, maybe 170,000 years ago. Around 45,000 years ago, some moved into Europe, and within 5,000 years, they lightly inhabited much of the continent. Cro-Magnons left us the gorgeous painted caves, magic peepholes into fairyland. Neanderthals went extinct about 30,000 years ago, for unknown reasons.The trademark weapon of Cro-Magnons was the lightweight throwing spear, tipped with stone or antler. It was excellent for hunting on open land, and it could kill from a distance. It made it easier to kill a wider variety of prey, like deer and reindeer. Thus, there was more meat on the table, more bambinos in the nursery, and more spear-chuckers running around the bloody countryside. Even during warm eras, European summers were short, and plant foods were limited, so meat was the core source of nourishment. Homo sapiens have been purebred hunters since day one in Africa.Later, the bow and arrow arrived. Bows may have been used 18,000 years ago, based on circumstantial evidence, but the oldest bow found so far was from 10,800 BC. The bow was an awesomely powerful weapon. It could be fired from any angle, and quickly reloaded. It could kill critters large and small from a long distance. It was great for forest hunting. Nets, traps, and barbed fish spears also came into use. Rabbits, birds, and rodents now appeared on the menu — more meat, bambinos, and hunters — and less and less wildlife. Our consumption of plant foods and shellfish increased.Around 12,900 years ago, the Younger Dryas period brought frigid weather back again, for a thousand years. It brought severe droughts to the Near East, and the humans adapted by harvesting and planting grass seeds. And the rest, as they say, is history. The combination of excess cleverness, deficient family planning, and climate change put us on a bullet train to global catastrophe. “Within a surprisingly few generations, the people of the Near East and southeastern Turkey were entirely dependent on farming. When wetter conditions returned at the end of the Younger Dryas, the new economies spread like wildfire across Anatolia and into southeast Europe, where they were well established before eight thousand years ago.”What we know about human evolution and Ice Age Europe is quite fragmentary. Time, glaciers, rising sea levels, and civilization have taken a big toll on the meager evidence. The timeline is full of holes, the dates are controversial, the theories are controversial, and the research continues.Annoyingly, Fagan inserted a number of ideas unsupported by hard evidence, based on speculation. For example, Neanderthals probably didn’t have complex language because they persisted in living in a simple manner. Their primitive brains may have lacked the advanced neural circuits necessary for feverish innovation and pathological ecocide. Fagan is the captain of the Homo sapiens cheerleading squad. He gushes with praise for our unbelievably clever species. “Effective technology, an acute self-awareness, and an intimate relationship with the environment made the Cro-Magnon personality practically invincible.” In frigid regions of Europe, they “adapted effortlessly to the ever-colder conditions.”I’m glad that I read this book, because I learned a lot from it, and I will not forget it. The entire era of civilization has existed during an unusually long period of warm and stable weather. Our food production system is fine-tuned for this climate, and it’s going to have tremendous problems as the planet gets hotter and hotter. Fagan helps us remember the scary patterns of climate history, and how it mercilessly hammered the unlucky, over and over again, big brains and all.Given the fact that we’re currently beating the stuffing out Big Mama Nature, the gushing praise for human intelligence and innovation emits a noxious cloud of stinky funk. Where is the line between brilliant innovation and idiotic self-destruction? Are they the same? Is it possible that simple and stable does not mean stupid? These questions should not be swept under the rug. We really, really need to remember what we are not now. We need to discover the long lost treasure.

  • Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
    2019-03-15 10:20

    I love history, and this was a grand tour of over nearly 200,000 years of human history from the small bands of anatomically modern humans that roamed about Africa and then slowly spread across Eurasia and finally into the heart of western Europe. Professor Fagan is a great writer that brings to life these hardy peoples that most of us are descended from. Fagan carefully explains and puts into context all of the latest archaeological and climatological data as he tells this amazing story. There's lots of good stuff in this book too about the potential interactions between modern humans and our close cousins, the Neanderthals.I have to say that I loved this book as much as Jean Auel's wonderful Earth's Children series (i.e., Clan of the Cave Bear through the Land of the Painted Caves). In fact, before you read (or re-read) Auel's books, I highly recommend reading Fagan's Cro-Magnon: How the Ice Age Gave Birth to the First Modern Humans, as it really does provide a ton of background information that helps to put Auel's Ice Age world in context for the average reader. I really enjoyed reading Professor Fagan's book, and found it to be eminently readable, interesting, informative, and quite entertaining. There's a lot in this book for the serious student of human origins and archaeology as well as for the layperson just wanting to better understand our rich human history.

  • Megan
    2019-03-17 15:30

    I didn't think this one was as good as his one on climate change in history (the only other book of his I've read). It concentrated almost entirely on hunting, which is understandable since that's pretty much the evidence left behind, but got a little boring. And there were made up scenes which were so conjectured I didn't think that they added much, and just served as filler to make the book long. Most annoyingly, he ascribes rather modern traditions and gender roles without any sort of discussion as to why he assumes the men did all the hunting/the women did all the cooking and sewing. That division of labor may very well have existed, and there's plenty of anthropological evidence about how women traditionally do roles that allow them to be closer to home, but there's no discussion about any of this. But he just seemed to take it for granted, with no discussion at all. Similarly he made a few references to marriage and to nuclear family living arrangements that I don't see how there's any way to really know about... he just kind of seems to assume things with no discussion about that assumption... and then another 20 pages about hunting.

  • Stephen
    2019-03-19 13:16

    Cro-Magnon chronicles the arrival and activity of modern humans into Europe during what is popularly known as the Ice Age, and speculates -- based on factual data, inferences drawn from observing the Inuit, and ordinary imagination -- what their lifestyles were like during different phases of the'ice age'. Although regular readers tend to think of there being a distinct period called The Ice Age, one filled with mammoths and saber and short-faced bears, the evidence of ice cores indicates that during the early human tenure of Europe, cold and warm spells alternated every fifteen hundred years or so, This was good for early Homo Sapiens, as our forebears proved more adaptable to the climate than did the first inhabitants of Europe, the Neanderthals. They seem to have huddled around the rim of the Med, and it was in Spain that the last of them disappear from archaeological records. Humans, meanwhile, built up a diverse kit of tools for surviving -- all manner of stone-and bone-ware for cutting meat, sewing furs into clothes, and creating traps and weapons. Fagan discredits speculation that Neanderthals could use language, and points to their persistent stagnation as evidence: he believes language has had a quickening effect on human populations, allowing for the accumulation of knowledge and the creation of more complex societies. This argument strikes me as weak given that humans had language a long time before the explosion of civilizations around the Fertile Crescent. I enjoyed the passages in which Fagan tried to convey a sense of what it was like to live in ice-age Europe, following reindeer and working in the snow to trap foxes. His sections on Cro-Magnon cave art stir the imagination.

  • Andrea
    2019-03-02 16:16

    Great read. Brought me up to date on lots of new discoveries since my undergraduate days. The author has an engaging narrative style that breaks up the scientific information.

  • Alex Telander
    2019-02-28 15:16

    One of the most impressive things about history is that it is never static; you could take one event that is well documented, then come back to it a decade later and find the details and actions and reactions on that event to be totally different. One area where the knowledge and thoughts and ideas of what the period was like that is constantly changing is prehistory; our ancestors who lived before any real form of the written word was invented, other than cave paintings. This is approximately 15,000 to 20,000 years ago, when the last ice age came to a close, and the melting pot that was ancestral humanity – Cro-Magnons and Neanderthals (and perhaps in the future anthropologists and archaeologists will discover another tangent of hominids) – came to a final decision through the evolutionary step of Homo sapiens sapiens.Brian Fagan is the professor emeritus in anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the author of The Great Warming, The Little Ice Age, and The Oxford Companion to Archaeology. In Cro-Magnon, Fagan brings readers up to date with all the latest knowledge and evidence on the Cro-Magnons and the Neanderthals. The common perception is that with the end of the ice age, there was the big migration of Cro-Magnons into what would eventually become Europe, as they existed with the Neanderthals, not integrating and living together, but overpowering and superseding them, eventually rendering the Neanderthals extinct. Fagan explores the history of the Neanderthals, discussing and developing ideas and theories of when they migrated into Europe and spread around and how it was quite possible there was coexistence between Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons, with exchanges in trade, habits, tool making, and perhaps even histories. Fagan posits that Neanderthals may not have died out, but become integrated with Cro-Magnons.Fagan then launches into the main part of the book with the Cro-Magnons, and the general labels that are applied to the different periods and developments of Cro-Magnons: Mousterian, Châtelperronian, Aurignancian, Gravettian, Solutrean, and Magdalenian, exploring each label and what makes it individual. At the end of the book the reader is left understanding a lot more about our ancestors, and perhaps coming to the realization that the Neanderthals, and certainly the Cro-Magnons were a lot more intelligent, creative and developed than the idea of the fur-covered man with the spear hunting the woolly mammoth, while the fur-covered woman remains in the cave with the children, tending to the fire. One can’t help but wonder how our knowledge and perceptions of these people may change in ten years time, especially since there is so much more to be learned and discovered; the cave paintings of Grotte de Chauvet, Niaux and Lascaux are merely the tip of the ice berg.Originally written on September 16 2010 ©Alex C. Telander.For over 500 book reviews, and over 40 exclusive author interviews (both audio and written), visit BookBanter.

  • Ray Campbell
    2019-03-24 14:19

    Disappointing. Carbon dating as first used was less accurate than today's methods. Cro Magnon man appears in Africa around 70,000 years ago and coexisted with Neanderthals until the end of the last great ice age when Cro Magnon pushed them out and into extinction. Cro Magnons hunted, gathered, sewed clothing out of animal skins and fur, and painted cave walls - it was fun! The really impressive thing is that this went on over tens of thousands of years. I had imagined this book might spread new light on what changed to transition into modern times. What started the agricultural revolution and the establishment of communities of modern man. While Fagan points to the ebb and flow of climatic changes, there is no revelation here. This is a long winded ramble through early human history.Fagan clarifies many issues and gives interesting details, but he could have done it in half the time by saying "this was a pattern that we see throughout..." Unfortunately, Fagan needs to repeat the same things about Cro-Magnon man in each place they have been found while emphasizing that we can never know for sure about an alarming amount of conjecture. He does illustrate patterns and explains how archeologists know, but he also creates speculative scenarios to illustrate how things might have been which are just silly. I'll paraphrase: Imagine, a stream. A father looks lovingly at his child. The child is confused. "What is that giant wooly mammoth daddy?" The father fits an arrow, he forgot his sharpened throwing sticks. "Will we eat tonight?" the boy says. The father says "yes - Mommy will be busy cooking"... I know Fagan was trying to make a story and help us imagine scenes that were likely, but it made the book seem speculative rather than scientific.Again, some interesting insight, but did I mention it was repetitive?

  • Ron
    2019-03-20 15:32

    While innovation in anthropology and archaeology come as slowly as the creeping glaciers from which core samples are taken, Fagan's latest offers little in the way of new information or radical theory, instead hewing to the status quo with great zealotry. It is written for the layperson on a very simplistic level, and he shows signs of age by engaging in a great deal of repetition and redundancy throughout the text (it could easily have been edited to half the length). Sadly, Fagan's zealotry emphasizes the tired old myth of 'man the mighty hunter', discounting the work of a great many theorists studying modern hunter-gatherer populations who are revising this long cherished theory with evidence that females GATHER 80% of all the calories for their tribes and that their implements are lost to the ravages of time (whereas hunting implements are not). The text is made all the worse by taking a novelistic approach to the writing, giving the author the liberty to run wild with his highly speculative ideas in a way that the average reader will lap up without question. It is a dismal fall from grace for an author who is succumbing to the sands of time and rigid thinking.

  • Joel Trout
    2019-03-24 13:31

    I found the material in this book fascinating despite the author's limitations. I am new to this subject, so I say with all humility that the most frustrating part for me was Fagan's repetitive obsession that Neanderthals did not have speech or language. He points out that Neanderthals had the same FOXP2 gene (which contributes to speech and language) that modern humans do, the same hypoglossal canal (which carries the nerves from the brain to the tongue), and the same thoracic vertebrae canal (houses nerves for diaphragm and breathing). Yet, he says Neanderthals didn't have language! What reason does he give? He says they had little change in their stone technology and left behind little evidence of art for thousands of years. To me, a technologically and artistically conservative culture is more a sign of life on the very edge of survival, and not a good reason to ignore all the scientific evidence that Neanderthals were probably downright chatty. Overall, this was a good introduction on the subject of early man. I look forward to reading more about it, perhaps from a different author, one less rambling and repetitive.

  • Dan
    2019-03-05 13:39

    This is a very good overview of current knowledge about the Stone Age peoples of Europe and their origins, both Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal. Fagan punctuates the book with vignettes of imagined "daily life" from different times and places, then goes on to explain what is known, how it is known, what is probable, etc. - and thus, how he came up with the vignette. It is very readable. There is a certain repetitiveness, as Fagan returns to the same themes over and over again - and occasionally makes a general statement which isn't explored in depth until many chapters later - but such deficiencies are tolerable in an otherwise enjoyable narrative. Unfortunately, I expect this book will be out of date within about 5-10 years, as new discoveries are made and new theories formed (e.g., Fagan follows the opinion that Neanderthals and modern humans have not interbred; however: http://www.newscientist.com/article/d...). So read it now!

  • Rachel
    2019-03-21 08:34

    Cro-Magnon, by Brian Fagan introduces what is currently known (and speculated) about Cro-Magnons and Neanderthals. Fagan spices up his narrative with imaginative vignettes of Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons as they may have lived. I imagine such vignettes would appeal to most everyone in the general public, including teens, though they may be a little irritating to a hard-core scientist who isn't interested in imaginative speculation (just a guess...I loved them!). Another excellent feature of this book is that it has incorporated historic scientific discoveries about prehistoric peoples with modern science like mitochondrial DNA tracing. Again, this feature would be of interest to most of the general public, but isn't meant for experts--there are a lot of simplifications for the sake of clarity. I think this book is an excellent introduction to prehistoric peoples that could be enjoyed by both adults and teens (even precocious pre-teens).

  • Carolyn Stein
    2019-02-24 10:19

    A very good book that evokes and explains the environment that created early modern humans, focusing especially on Europe. He covers the Neanderthals early in the book and uses them to make comparisons throughout. The book drew me in with a clever use of small vignettes depicting the probable lives of particular people in the prehistoric world. In all cases he explains why scientists think the interpretation he is giving is correct. Where there is disagreement in scientific circles he deals with it briefly and then explains why he thinks one side of the other is the correct one. I have never felt so close to my early human ancestors as I did while reading this book. I was ready to do my part making obsidian blades and needles for my Cro Magnon band. Highly recommended.

  • Gary
    2019-03-06 10:17

    The story listens as if it is a romantic fiction novel. The author gives us plenty of information on early man (and neanderthal) life. If you were to listen to the story at random parts, you would probably think the story was a romantic fiction novel. Whenever a science book reads like fiction that makes the book flow marvelously. The author will often start his elucidation on a subject matter by saying "and how do we know that", and then explains how we think we know what was said. Typical examples representative of the time period are used to make the lives of the Cro-Magnon become vibrant through today's modern eyes.I'm a sucker for prehistory books. This one makes the subject come alive and the reader adds an extra dimension to the story telling.

  • Jennifer
    2019-03-14 08:28

    I was hoping more new information. I took a course on human anthropology in college and I have a degree in geology so I am very familiar with the ice ages and early humans. There was a lot of repetition and imagined scenarios of people that I found hard to believe without knowing the social structures that the bands would have. Lastly, the book was a very European centred. There was virtually no mention of Asian or Middle Eastern sites. I am not sure if there is a lack of archaeological sites or the author ignored those sites.

  • Bruce
    2019-02-24 13:26

    Fagan takes the scientific evidence of the migration of Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon humans from Africa into Europe and their endurance through the ice age and then paints vivid imaginative scenes of their hunts, tool making, art and ceremonies. For him, the Cro-Magnon relationship with the supernatural, as evidenced by their art, was also evidence of their imagination. And he credits them, the direct ancestors of modern humans, with an imagination that led to innovations, making them better able to survive and thrive in during a time of climactic change than their Neanderthal kin.

  • Kirsten
    2019-03-21 15:32

    I've long hoped that we can dispel the false image in pop culture of the 'caveman' wielding a rough club and dragging a woman along by her hair. I think we have an obligation to seriously address that image, which is used to justify so much faulty reasoning and research. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen here.

  • Juan
    2019-03-21 14:13

    Es un relato tal vez académico; pero en un tono NO académico, muy ameno, aunque en ocasiones tiende a ser condescender. Hay momentos en que es tan ameno como la lectura del clan del oso cavernario, pero sin llegar a ser un relato novelado. 5!!!!!

  • Dana
    2019-03-05 11:36

    Cro-magnons they are us, Homo Sapiens. They were thin on ground unlike Neanderthal. They spread around Europe around 35.000 Y.A. Cro-magnons were creating engraving and painting on walls of caved, bones, antler and rock shelter. They used flutes bones. Ornamented their bodies and buried their dead.Many specialist consider the term Cro-magnons as a shameful term to describe the Homo Sapiens /modern human Art defines Cro-magnons ( great cavity)  in the public eye when, in fact, it was an integral part of a much larger existence.Cro-magnons is a story about hunters and gathers. Who their ancestors became almost extinct. What made Cro-magnons different from their cousins thr Neanderthal is they had the ability to plan ahead, imagination, communication and a language to keep in touch all of these gave them the chance to use more sufestic tools and weapons to hunt and then survive Neanderthal came from African savannah as well. They crossed the Mediterranean because of the climate change and the draught that spread in Africa and middle east at the time pushed all kind of harbivors to migrate to Europe. Africa simply because there where they learned to hunt big animals The pleistocene lasted about 650.000 Y.There were not only 4 glaciation but at least 9 or 10 maybe. The world's climate has been in transition from cold to warm and back to cold again at least three quarters for the last 780.000 Y. Which time the earth's magnetic field abruptly reversed First European entered Europe from Western Asia across Turkey. Just as Homo Sapiens did hundreds of thousands years later. We still not sure if they used fire to survive in such harish weather. They might be used fire which were able to have from different accedent. But it was till 750.000 Y.A when they learned how to light a fire and control itThe direct ancestors of the Neanderthals were Homo heidelbergensis  (Heidelberg man). It is the vision of the European Homo erectus. Heidelberg man was African evolved there as well. First skull to discover was 1857  before two years Charles Darwin published on "the origin of species ". Genetic studies showed that they had gene MICR which means that some of them had pigmentation in their genes. They might have pale skin, red hair .Maybe perhaps absorbing vitamin D. DNA sequence divide the Neanderthals to 4 subgroups. Western Europe, southern Europe near Mediterranean,  third in eastern Europe and thr fourth one western Asia. The language that the Neanderthals used was music. "Hmmmmmm". The bone structure of the Neanderthals anatomy yielded the FOXP2 gene. Which contribute to speech and language ability. Anatomically they lacked the circuits in the brain. That would have connected tool making, socializing, and human interaction History witnessed two massive volcanic eruption which took an important part with decreasing the population of modern human. Mount Toba volcanic eruption was the first one. It drove literally human speice to extinct and its short and long term affects caused lots of damages. Second eruption was mount Vesuvius A.D 79. In Pompeii next Naples. It is a dwarf eruption comparing with Toba. The ash layers following the cold winter because of the lock of the sunshine Before the Neanderthals evolved I'm Europe. Homo Sapiens found a way to develop their stones tools. What gave the Homo Sapiens the modern human different and more sufesticated than neanderthal is their ability to make thiner and smaller weapons,  stone tools Aurignacians were the first modern humans to migrate into Europe. Where they displayed the Neanderthals During around 18.000 Y.G Cro-magnons were well know that they had their time for intruducing the art. Their own art. But the excavation in the Chauvet caves proved us all that Aurignacians were the first modern humans who left their own art print. The radiocarbon dates go back to thirty-six thousands years ago. Some theories decline thay this cave might be a  station for many years for more than the Aurignacians probably more than one individual. They might visited the location to do some kind of ceremony or to paint. They lived in caves The Gravettians: they developed from Aurignacians roots some where in central  Europe or western Eurasia.in Austria, Russia and Ukraine. They digged in the ground to have shelters from the haresh weather and the low tempreture. They used more sufesticated weapon from animals bones. Their art was so beautiful The Magdalenians / Solutreans  their tools remainder the same but they fabricated smaller stone tools the Aurignacians,  Gravettians and Solutreans had decorated antler and bone objects with geometric design and crafted female figurines. The Magdalenians took personal decoration to the next level.

  • Jennie Louise
    2019-02-24 13:28

    I really wanted to like this book, but found it very difficult to finish; I got more and more irritated the further I got.The book covers the origins of Cro-Magnons in Europe, and aspects of their way of life up to the Last Glacial Maximum (about 21000 years BCE). The origin and extinction of Neanderthals are also covered. Some of the material is now out of date (e.g. does not take account of the recent discovery via mitochondrial DNA that there was interbreeding between Cro-Magnons and Neanderthals); nevertheless there is interesting content here.The things that really rubbed me the wrong way were- the insistence on 'story-telling', including a kind of 'text-fade' ellipsis to imagined scenarios in Cro-Magnon life (disproportionately involving men hunting). I found these scenarios intrusive, irritating, fanciful, not useful as illustration, and thematically repetitive (did I mention the HUNTING?). They also depended a lot on Fagan's obviously unquestioned assumptions about, especially, gender roles and spiritual beliefs. There are also numerous self-indulgent anecdotes about his field work experience (once he was caught in a storm on an inland sea! This is relevant to... exactly nothing).- the tendency to go FAR beyond the available evidence. To be fair, much of the time Fagan at least lets us know this is what he is doing (e.g. saying he 'makes no apology' for extrapolating Cro-Magnon behaviours from those of the Inuit), but sometimes he doesn't even seem to realise that is what he is doing, and even when he is aware the evidence is equivocal, he notes this and then proceeds to treat his preferred view as fact. He frequently talks about the Cro-Magnons' spiritual beliefs (e.g. in relation to cave paintings) not only in terms of there being a spiritual motivation for behaviours/artifacts, but also in terms of the content of those beliefs. He refers throughout to women (and only women) sewing the clothes. He talks a lot about how the men had to do a lot of physical work outside, referring to hunting - and assumes the women all stayed at home, sewing the clothes and doing other stereotypical women's work (although they went out to trap small animals). One thing I wondered, and which doesn't seem to be on Fagan's radar at all, is: how did they get water to their camps? They would have needed this for drinking, washing, and also to soak bone and wood before further processing. If we are extrapolating from present-day communities, this is a hard physical task which is almost exclusively performed by women. Likewise, how did the firewood or other material for fires get to the camp?For all we know, Fagan's assumptions may be correct. My point is that we don't know this - the evidence does not exist to tell us that only women ever did the sewing, or that Cro-Magnons believed that putting a handprint on a cave wall allowed them to derive strength from the rock. Fagan is fond of saying that there are only so many ways people can survive in these environments. But this doesn't cover either gender roles or spirituality. Moreover, the reason for insisting on evidence is that we all wear cultural blinders - something that seems to us obvious, or natural, or necessarily universal, may be none of these things.- the sheer repetitiveness of much of the material. Some things just seem to come up again and again and again (the aforementioned spiritual beliefs, the need to know a lot about the animals you hunted, etc etc). Because of this, and also because of the padding due to the fictional scenarios and the time spent talking about what (he assumes) must have been true (even though there is no evidence), the actual amount of information in this book is quite small.I would still like to find a reliable, evidence based, book on the origins of modern homo sapiens which doesn't continually swerve off into self-indulgent irrelevancies.

  • Henrique Maia
    2019-03-16 13:15

    If you come to think of it, it’s hard to really appreciate how much we have inherited in terms of our past, and by past I mean actual, physical, past, if you don’t have a way to relate to what our ancestors did, what they had to face, and how brutal and unwelcoming was their natural environment. What this book offer us is not the tired old run-of-the-mill glimpse into that distant past. Through the lenses of Brian M. Fagan’s theoretical telescope built upon his wealth of archeological knowledge, we get a different picture, one that is more like a window, even if a small one, to whom those peoples were and how they evolved. Even if you’re not particularly interested in this field of study, even if you think there’s little to be learned here for it matters little to what your life is for, if you give this book a try you’ll find it to be very engaging. Fagan’s narrative is compelling, even thrilling at times, but does not sacrifice accuracy for the sake of readability. In the end, by peeking into Fagan’s telescope onto that distant and very much forgotten Cro-Magnon past, we end up not only valuing more our much fought and suffered bodily past, but also hear the faint echoes of their lives and troubles, deepening our sense of awe for their artistic and technical remains. In this sense, in spite of aligning or not with your immediate interests, this book is very much worth the time spent reading it.

  • Donald Luther
    2019-03-19 09:42

    This is a remarkable book because it makes eminently clear, even to someone with only a novice's knowledge about prehistory (like me), how much we have learned about this period since I learned what basically amounted to fairy tales when I was taking my high school world history course.Despite the title, Fagan actually begins with the Neanderthals, making clear the differences between the two species in a couple of short chapters. Then, beginning with the Cro-Magnon's origins in Africa and the Middle East, he credits them with the development of language, the needle and layered clothing, and, by the end of the book, the bow and arrow. How and why these advances were made is explained clearly and in depth.He takes us on hunts, into the mystical life of the Cro-Magnon, into their artistic thinking, and their interpersonal and interfamilial relations.Back in the very first class I took in Western Civ in college, Professor Brayfield said, 'History is the creative re-creation of the past.' This book is a perfect example of that precept.

  • Michael Mathis
    2019-03-06 15:18

    I enjoyed this book. Our Cro-magnon ancestors seem not much different than us. They had art, religion, families, and used creativity to invent things to make their lives better. My biggest complaint with the book is that the information is a little dated at this point. The author states that the Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons never interbred. He spends much of the book comparing and contrasting them based on this belief. The author implied that they had very little contact, and that the Cro-Magnons most likely looked down on the Neanderthals.I believe however that current research shows that we carry Neanderthal DNA, which means they must have had more contact than the author believes, which means many of the authors hypotheses in comparing and contrasting the two groups were incorrect.

  • Richard Wise
    2019-03-01 15:17

    Interesting take on 50,000 years of the history of our race. He believes that the Neanderthals lacked articulate speech and much of the frontal cortex where creative thinking takes place. They were simply intellectually out classed by the emerging modern humans from whom we are all descended.He breaks the book down into the stories of the four major cultural groups beginning with the Aurignacians and progresses through the Gravettians, Solutrian and Magdalenians. Categories denoting both time frames commencing with the Cro Magnon's first appearance in Europe together with certain cultural and technological advances. Written in 2007, Fagan's narrative suffers from the lack of information from some of the latest archeological discoveries. One prevailing inconsistency that he fails to address is the superior sophistication of Aurignacian art when compared to latter examples.Still, an interesting and affecting story of the evolution of homo sapiens in Europe.

  • Marshall Wayne Lee
    2019-02-28 16:35

    While some of the information may be out of date, the book is still a worthwhile read for anyone who is interested in learning about human evolution. The book's focus is on the way of life of Cro-Magnon man. It is because of this, that one might want to approach the book as partly fiction as the author writes many sections that are fictionalized ideas of what the past might have been like. Many of his ideas are based on the ways that people who are in hunter gatherer societies live their lives, hunting techniques etc. The language is approachable and the information interesting.

  • Jeanette Lukens
    2019-03-05 16:35

    Good and informative book over all about early Homo Sapiens in what is now Europe, and their possible interactions with Neanderthals. I felt like it might not have been enough information to really merit an entire book, but maybe that is because I was just not very interested in the sections about early tools and technologies.

  • Michael Gurling
    2019-03-19 12:34

    Lots of interesting and useful information. .But peppered with bias and preconceived notions in many of the coclusions drawn which are often presented as 'near' facts. A worthwhile read but keep an open mind and learn to recognize the non-substantiated conclusions

  • N.A. Fedorak
    2019-03-11 15:12

    Inaccurate information in terms of Neanderthals and early human societal behaviors.