The Rock Art Network
The Rock Art Network
The Rock Art Network
Bradshaw Foundation - Latest News
New series about the Neanderthals
Monday 14 May 2018

Neanderthals - Meet Your Ancestors new series from the BBC.

Neanderthals - Meet Your Ancestors
Neanderthals - Meet Your Ancestors

A fascinating new BBC series. For those who didn't see it, catch it on BBC iPlayer. Based on reconstruction work, we learn that the Neanderthals were persistence hunters, encounter hunters and ambush hunters. But can this reconstruction reveal the inner person? Does the large complex brain prove and measure intelligence? Whilst the tools demonstrate technological capability, are there clues about abstract thought expressed through art and language?

Series One:

Ella Al-Shamahi enlists the skills of Andy Serkis, the master of performance capture, and a group of experts to investigate Neanderthals. According to recent science the Neanderthals are not the knuckle-dragging apemen of popular imagination. In fact they are our distant ancestors. About 2% of the DNA of most people is of Neanderthal origin - and it continues to affect us today.

Article continues below
Article continues

This first programme in a two-part series investigates what Neanderthals looked like and and how they lived in their Ice Age world. It turns out that almost everything we thought we knew about them is wrong. They weren't hunched, grunting, knuckle-dragging ape-men at all. In reality they were faster, smarter, better looking - and much more like us than we ever thought. Our guide is Ella Al-Shamahi, a young, British, rising star in Neanderthal research, with an unusual side-line as a stand-up comic. She enlists the skills of Andy Serkis, the global movie star and master of performance capture, best known as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings and Caesar in Planet of the Apes, who uses his Hollywood magic to create for the first time ever a scientifically accurate, 3D working avatar of a real Neanderthal.

In Andy Serkis's studio, Ella brings together a core group of experts from all over the world - our Key Investigating Scientists - who are at the cutting edge of Neanderthal research. Ella also gathers evidence by pursuing leads across the globe, meeting leading experts in their labs and at significant sites of Neanderthal discovery, from Iraqi Kurdistan to Gibraltar. She begins with a fossil Neanderthal skull found in Shanidar Cave in Iraq that she calls Ned and takes it to a forensic expert who is able to reconstruct the face using clues from the bone structure, allowing us to admire the face of one of our ancient ancestors - one that hasn't been seen for more than 50,000 years.

Next Ella enlists the help of her team to work out what Ned's body was like, building up layers from the fossil skeleton to create a digital Neanderthal. Then, using his motion capture skills, Andy Serkis brings Ned back to life. Physically he was smaller than modern humans but much stronger and faster. With the help of our experts we are able to reconstruct a Neanderthal hunt, showing how they used their immense strength and speed to ambush and bring down vast animals like woolly mammoths. These were people supremely adapted to their environment. But there was more to Neanderthals than their physiques. New archaeological research is revealing intriguing details about the Neanderthal mind. In the sea caves of Gibraltar we find evidence of Neanderthal art - and even their penchant for dressing up in vulture feathers.

And in London computer modelling of the Neanderthal vocal track can let us hear a Neanderthal voice 40,000 years after they became extinct. These were no brutish apemen - they were surprisingly like us. So finally, to see just how well Neanderthals would blend in to modern society, we put Ned amongst the commuters on a busy tube train. He fits right in.

BBC Two iPlayer:
Neanderthals - Meet Your Ancestors

Comment
Rock Art
New Nazca geoglyphs discovered
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 19 November 2019
Quinkan Country rock art
by Bradshaw Foundation
Monday 11 November 2019
Petroglyphs of the Kansas Smoky Hills
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 05 November 2019
Cave Painting
Cave art & the origin of language
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 04 December 2019
Louvre exhibition with roots in cave art
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 03 December 2019
Aboriginal rock art site reclaimed
by Bradshaw Foundation
Monday 25 November 2019
Paleoanthropology
The extinction of the Neanderthal
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 28 November 2019
Skull found in Greece
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 11 July 2019
Ice Age wolf found
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 12 June 2019
Archaeology
Neolithic settlement discovered in Turkey
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 05 December 2019
Lion figurine discovered in Denisova Cave
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 21 November 2019
Modern technology for ancient ochre
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 20 November 2019
Anthropology
South Pacific Islanders used obsidian for tattoos
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 12 July 2016
Oldest evidence of domesticated rice in China
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 23 June 2016
Landscapes shaped by human activity
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 07 June 2016
World Heritage
Moving the stones of Stonehenge
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 16 July 2019
Adoranten 2018
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 20 June 2019
Modern sculpture meets ancient Greece
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 08 May 2019
Follow the Bradshaw Foundation on social media for news & updates
Follow the Bradshaw Foundation
on social media for news & updates
Follow the Bradshaw Foundation on social media for news & updates
Follow the Bradshaw Foundation
on social media for news & updates
If you have enjoyed visiting this website
please consider adding a link © Bradshaw Foundation
 
 
ROCK ART NETWORK
Rock Art Network Bradshaw Foundation Getty Conservation Institute
ROCK ART
New Nazca geoglyphs discovered
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 19 November 2019
Quinkan Country rock art
by Bradshaw Foundation
Monday 11 November 2019
Petroglyphs of the Kansas Smoky Hills
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 05 November 2019
CAVE PAINTINGS
Cave art & the origin of language
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 04 December 2019
Louvre exhibition with roots in cave art
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 03 December 2019
Aboriginal rock art site reclaimed
by Bradshaw Foundation
Monday 25 November 2019
PALEOANTHROPOLOGY
The extinction of the Neanderthal
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 28 November 2019
Skull found in Greece
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 11 July 2019
Ice Age wolf found
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 12 June 2019
ARCHAEOLOGY
Neolithic settlement discovered in Turkey
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 05 December 2019
Lion figurine discovered in Denisova Cave
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 21 November 2019
Modern technology for ancient ochre
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 20 November 2019
ANTHROPOLOGY
WORLD HERITAGE
Moving the stones of Stonehenge
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 16 July 2019
Adoranten 2018
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 20 June 2019
Modern sculpture meets ancient Greece
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 08 May 2019
Bradshaw Foundation Donate Friends
Support our work & become a
Friend of the Foundation
 
 
Bradshaw Foundation Facebook
 
Bradshaw Foundation YouTube
Bradshaw Foundation iShop Shop Store
Bradshaw Foundation iShop Shop Store
Bradshaw Foundation iShop Shop Store