“It has been a long time since I read a book about human evolution that I enjoyed so much.” John Shea.

Put aside everything you thought you knew about being human — about how we got here and what it all means. After five years of rigorous scientific research, Danny Vendramini has developed a theory of human origins that is stunning in its simplicity, yet breathtaking in its scope and importance. Them and Us: how Neanderthal predation created modern humans begins with a radical reassessment of Neanderthal behavioural ecology. Vendramini cites new archaeological and genetic evidence to show they weren’t docile omnivores, but savage, cannibalistic carnivores—top flight predators of the stone age. Neanderthal Predation (NP) theory reveals that Neanderthals were ‘apex’ predators who resided at the top of the food chain, and everything else, including humans, was their prey. NP theory is one of those groundbreaking ideas that revolutionizes scientific thinking. It represents a quantum leap in our understanding of human origins.

“Danny Vendramini presents a truly unique and innovative picture of the role of Neanderthal predation in human evolution. He pulls together countless different threads of scientific evidence to re-cast Neanderthals as ‘apex predators’, proverbial ‘wolves with knives’ who were effective rivals with our ancestors. His thesis that many physical, social, and psychological characteristics now seen as uniquely human are direct results of Neanderthal predation on our ancestors will be sure to ignite controversy in scientific meetings, university classrooms, and among any group of people genuinely interested in human evolution.” —Leading authority on Neanderthals, Professor John Shea of Stony Brook University in New York.

“We’ve been called the ‘third chimpanzee’. Instead, Vendramini asks: Why are we such a distinctively odd primate species—anatomically, behaviourally, and beset by dark atavistic fears? His thesis that intensive predation by Neanderthals enforced rapid, protective, evolutionary changes offers innovative insight into the many things about ‘us’ that we might otherwise take for granted. A well-argued case to be answered.” —Tony McMichael, Australian National University.

“Sometimes it takes an outsider to cut through the most intractable problems in science. That is what Vendramini’s approach offers the reader in his daring claims about the interactions between humans and their most famous evolutionary relatives, the Neanderthals.”—Iain Davidson, Emeritus Professor of Archaeology, University of New England, Australia. Visiting Professor of Australian Studies, Harvard University.

In partnership with Madrid-based digital sculptor Arturo Balseiro, Vendramini presents blood curdling computer generated images of what Neanderthals really looked like—based on scans of Neanderthal skulls and bones. These images are available for reproduction.

About the author
Danny Vendramini was born in Alice Springs, in the Australian outback. He had successful careers in a number of fields, as a theatre director, TV producer and award-winning film director and scriptwriter, before turning to evolutionary biology. “I’ve been studying evolutionary biology for ten years but decided against the PhD route. For cutting edge theoretical science, there are real advantages in working outside the university system. Academia discourages risk-taking and there can be no major scientific success without risk.” As an atheist and Darwinian scholar, Vendramini’s work is anchored in evidence based research and deduction, but ultimately it is his artistic imagination and scientific creativity that distinguishes his evolutionary theories. “You need two kinds of scientists. People who are into experimentation, detailed observation and analysis. They’re unquestionably the backbone of scientific progress. But you also need a few left-field people who can look at the big picture and envisage new paradigms and possibilities.” He is a member of the Independent Scholars Association of Australia Inc, lives in Sydney, and is married to the writer Rosie Scott.

RRP $39.95
Paperback, 366 pages
Published by Kardoorair Press
October 2009