Author Says Prehistoric Humans Were a Lot like Us

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), February 28, 2006 | Go to article overview

Author Says Prehistoric Humans Were a Lot like Us


Byline: Jeff Wright The Register-Guard

If someone calls you a Neanderthal, maybe you should take it as a compliment.

When it comes to defending the reputation of prehistoric humans, you'd be hard pressed to find a better advocate than Jean Auel, the Portland author of the hugely popular Earth's Children series of novels.

Auel brought her defense to the University of Oregon on Monday, when she spoke to about 60 students in anthropology professor Sarah McClure's Archaeology in Film and Fiction course. Auel assured the students that, Hollywood's images notwithstanding, early humans living through an ice age 30,000 years ago were more like us than we give them credit for.

"Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons had to be very intelligent," said Auel. "They didn't read or drive a car, but they recognized hundreds of plants and animals, and knew where to find them and how to use them."

We shouldn't be so surprised, said Auel: Neanderthals had a brain capacity larger than our own.

Auel first introduced readers to Ayla, a 5-year-old Cro-Magnon orphan girl adopted by a clan of Neanderthals, in "The Clan of the Cave Bear," published in 1980. In that and four subsequent books, Auel has honed her reputation for tireless research that allows her to place her characters amid the details of everyday prehistoric life.

The five books have sold nearly 40 million copies in more than 30 languages, and Auel (pronounced "Owl") let out a secret Monday sure to delight her legion of fans: It's going to take seven, not six, novels to complete Ayla's story.

"I just realized I can't get it done in six," she said. "I know the whole story line, but I just can't fit it in one more book. There's too much to tell yet."

Auel married at 18 and had five children by the time she was 25.

With a background in electronics and business, she had no creative writing experience beyond some dabbling in poetry when the idea popped in her head to write a short story about a young woman in prehistoric times.

She went first to the Encyclopaedia Britannica and then to the library to learn more about early humans. She came home with 40 to 50 books, and her short story soon evolved into a novel, and then a series of novels.

"I guess 40 to 50 books are not needed for a short story," she told the students.

In the years since, Auel has traveled to caves and other archaeological sites across Europe and Asia, and completed courses that have taught her everything from wild plant identification to how to build a snow cave. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Author Says Prehistoric Humans Were a Lot like Us
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.