Cro-Magnon: How the Ice Age Gave Birth to the First Modern Humans

Written by Brian Fagan

They survived by their wits in a snowbound world, hunting, and sometimes being hunted by, animals many times their size. By flickering firelight, they drew bison, deer, and mammoths on cavern walls – vibrant images that seize our imaginations after thirty thousand years. They are known to archaeologists as the Cro-Magnons-but who were they? Simply put, these people were among the first anatomically modern humans. For millennia, their hunter-gatherer culture flourished in small pockets across Ice Age Europe, the distant forerunner to the civilization we live in now.

Bestselling author Brian Fagan brings these early humans out of the deep freeze with his trademark mix of erudition, cutting-edge science, and vivid storytelling. Cro-Magnon reveals human society in its infancy, facing enormous environmental challenges from glaciers, predators, and a rival species of humans-the Neanderthals. Cro-Magnon captures the adaptability that has made humans an unmatched success as a species. Living on a frozen continent with only crude tools, Ice Age humans survived and thrived. In these pages, we meet our most remarkable ancestors.

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Featured On Episode #130

The Earth That Was

This week we’ll look back into prehistory, for a glimpse of what life was like before humanity spread across the globe. We’re joined by anthropologist and author Brian Fagan, to discuss his book Cro-Magnon: How the Ice Age Gave Birth to the First Modern Humans. We’ll learn how a combination of intellect and technological achievement turned our ancestors into the sole hominid species on the planet. And Junior Skeptic editor Daniel Loxton returns to discuss his new children’s book, Ankylosaur Attack, about a day in the life of this armored dinosaur.

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