A journey back in time for a face-to-face meeting with the last of the Neanderthals, to discover a distant past that no longer exists but still lives within us: this is what Giorgio Manzi, paleoanthropologist of the university invites us to do. Sapienza di Roma, with its new book ‘The last Neanderthal tells. Stories before history ‘(Il Mulino, 221 pages, 15 euros).
The narration, inspired by Italo Calvino’s impossible interview with Neanderthal man, starts from the carriage of a train where Manzi, on his way to an informative conference, falls asleep: in a dream he imagines being in front of the Breuil cave of Mount Circeo, along the Lazio coast, where the exciting encounter with a Neanderthal who lived about 45 thousand years ago becomes the expedient to tell what science has managed to discover so far about our ancestors as regards their biology, evolution, behaviors and habits.
“We are reconstructing prehistoric events today to such a level of detail that we can tell stories that no one had ever been able to write before,” explains Manzi. “In this way, what we call ‘prehistory’ – that long epoch that precedes history proper (ie, written) – is itself becoming history. But it is a narrative that is not based on oral traditions or written documents. It is based on scientific data ”.
Source From: Ansa