Neanderthal man has a legendary status. His stocky, hairy, human-like figure, with heavy brow and receding chin, lumbers clumsily around in our collective imagination. But do we know who Neanderthal man really is? Was he our direct ancestor, or was he perhaps a more alien figure, not in the line of modern human descent at all, genetically very distinct - the victim rather than the driving force of the spread of humankind across the globe?;The original Neanderthal bones were unearthed to great scholarly excitement in the Neander valley in Germany in the mid-19th century. Many archaeologists and anatomists believed that we had discovered modern man's direct ancestor. Though the Neanderthalers appeared to have created no art and there was a a big question mark over their powers of speech, some anthropologists continued to regard them as plausible candidates for the ancestry of modern humanity all over the world - but there have always been dissenters from that view.;Recently, genetic tests on original bones from Germany have been taken to show that the Neanderthalers were not our descendants at all, having diverged from our line of evolution at least half a million ago to die out without issue during the last ice age. Yet a new find announced in 1999, of a four-year-old child who lived about 5000 years later on, seems to show signs of interbreeding between mdoern humans and Neanderthal types.;This work brings together all the research into "Homo sapiens neanderthalensis"; into his world, his technology, his way of life (and death, even his beliefs), his origins and his relationship with us.