Thursday, 21 May 2009

Neanderthals on the menu

William Golding's The Inheritors (1955) describes the destruction of a Neanderthal community at the hands of Homo sapiens. In one particularly horrific scene, two adult Neanderthals try to rescue a child who has been captured by this strange and brutal race. Lok, the male, is puzzled that he can smell the child everywhere among the Homo sapiens' dwellings, and yet she is nowhere to be found. The reader understands the horror which is beyond Lok's comprehension: the Neanderthal child has been eaten.

A recent story in The Guardian supports Golding's recreation: the discovery of a Neanderthal bone covered in cut marks similar to those left when meat is stripped has led one scientist to conclude that 'Neanderthals met a violent end at our hands and in some cases we ate them'.

1 comment:

  1. Louis MacNeice praised 'Pincher Martin' in his 'Varieties of Parable', describing it as 'this great novel'. All Golding's novels could be interpreted as parables, couldn't they?