|Author||Jean M. Auel|
|Media type||Print (hardback & paperback)|
Earth's Children is a series of speculative alternative historical fiction novels written by Jean M. Auel set circa 30,000 years before present. There are six novels in the series. Auel had previously mentioned in interviews that there would be a seventh novel, but publicity announcements for the sixth confirmed it would be the final book in the sequence.
The series is set in Europe during the Upper Paleolithic era, after the date of the first ceramics discovered, but before the last advance of glaciers. The books focus on the period of co-existence between Cro-Magnons and Neanderthals.
As a whole, the series is a tale of personal discovery: coming-of-age, invention, cultural complexities, and, beginning with the second book, explicit romantic sex. It tells the story of Ayla, an orphaned Cro-Magnon girl who is adopted and raised by a tribe of Neanderthals and who later embarks on a journey to find the Others (her own kind), meeting along the way her romantic interest and supporting co-protagonist, Jondalar.
The story arc in part comprises a travel tale, in which the two lovers journey from the region of Ukraine to Jondalar's home in what is now France, along an indirect route up the Danube River valley. In the third and fourth works, they meet various groups of Cro-Magnons and encounter their culture and technology. The couple finally return to southwestern France and Jondalar's people in the fifth novel. The series includes a highly detailed focus on botany, herbology, herbal medicine, archaeology and anthropology, but it also features substantial amounts of romance, coming-of-age crises, and — employing significant literary license — the attribution of certain advances and inventions to the protagonists.
In addition, Auel's series incorporates a number of recent archeological and anthropological theories. It also suggested the notion of Sapiens-Neanderthal interbreeding. Although in recent years the sequencing of Neandertal mitochondrial DNA first indicated that it was highly improbable that Neandertals contributed to the human genome, further research of the human genome has revealed conclusively that Neanderthals did in fact interbreed with non-African humans.
The author's treatment of unconventional sexual practices (which are central to her hypothesized nature-centered religions) has earned the series the twentieth place on the American Library Association's 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-2000.
The Clan of the Cave Bear
The first book, The Clan of the Cave Bear was released in September 1980 and is a story of personal development set in pre-historic southern Europe during the current Ice Age but before the last glacial period. It introduces the reader to a wide variety of diverse topics, including herbal medicine and anthropological-archeological reasoning.
The Clan of the Cave Bear introduces Ayla, the female protagonist, a Cro-Magnon child of about five, orphaned in an earthquake-induced cave-in and wounded by a cave lion. She is adopted by a tribal group of Neanderthals who call themselves the Clan of the Cave Bear and who refer to Ayla as "one of the Others", an allusion to the relatively recent migration of Cro-Magnon tribes into Clan territories. The Clan has just been driven out of its home by the earthquake, and the treatment of Ayla's wounds by the Clan's medicine woman Iza is initially in doubt. Influenced by sister-brother bonds, the Clan's leader Brun reluctantly gives permission for his sister to treat the child, which leads, inevitably, as he grumbles to himself, to her adoption—but only when she proves to be a token of good luck; Ayla finds the cave they thereafter make their home.
Auel's story seeks to demonstrate differences between the Neanderthals, who had been the sole inhabitants of Europe and Asia for over three hundred thousand years, and our Johnny-come-lately direct ancestors by choosing a setting only a few thousand years before the disappearance of the older species, while also sympathetically explaining, via actual archeological and anthropological theories, why they might not have survived the last Ice Age and the resultant ascendance of early modern humans (Cro-magnon/Homo sapiens). She was an early advocate of the once hotly disputed, but subsequently confirmed hypothesis that interbreeding occurred and carried Homo neanderthalensis genes into the present. Such sub-species interbreeding plays a large role in the backplot and tensions of both her larger and smaller tales.
In her tales, Homo neanderthalensis is possessed of an innate but very different type of intelligence, rooted in genetic memory, and differentiated by sex. This memory causes Ayla to be viewed, initially, as slow, perhaps even dull and stupid, relative to near-age Neanderthal children, who mature much faster and live shorter lives. Much of the tension of the early storyline deals with Ayla's tendency to think outside of the experiential box and therefore to commit social faux pas unthinkable to Neanderthal children with their innate memories of how to function.
Ayla's different developmental path allows major contrasts to be drawn between Neanderthal culture and those behaviors and responses to stimuli that would be logical to a modern human. Ultimately, Ayla's proclivities create friction that reflects unfavorably upon the heir apparent to the Clan leader's son, a near-age male named "Broud", who repeatedly victimizes Ayla after some escalating childish provocations. These victimizations include rape as modern culture would understand it; in the milieu of the Clan, however, it represents the normal duty of a woman, who must "relieve a man's needs". This duty is culturally non-negotiable, but Broud exploits it brutally, in order to get even with the too-clever-for-her-own-good Ayla. She becomes pregnant as a result. The struggle between the two climaxes with Broud ascending to rule of the group and taking the ultimate revenge by sundering Ayla from her three-year-old toddler, Durc, forcing the young and inexperienced shaman, Goov, to (unwillingly) curse Ayla with ritual death, driving her out of the group as an evil spirit in the aftermath of a second earthquake that destroys the Clan's cave. The book ends as Ayla begins a journey north to find the Others, as her adoptive mother had once advised.
The Valley of Horses
The Valley of Horses was released in September 1982. Ayla, cast out of the Clan, has been forced to follow the advice given her in the first book by her dying foster-mother Iza. She goes in search of "the Others"—that is, people like herself: European Cro-Magnon Homo sapiens, or early-modern humans, returned west and north to Europe after an incubation period of tens of millennia in the near and far east.
Ayla settles in a small valley for the winter and lives alone for nearly three years. During that period, she is free to explore, innovate and pursue creative impulses, including raising and training animals whilst coping with the strength and speed limitations of a single human being who must hunt wild game with primitive technology.
At the same time, an eighteen-year-old Cro-Magnon man named Jondalar begins a traditional "long journey" with his younger brother, Thonolan. He takes the tradition to an extreme by deciding to undertake a multi-year trip, not a seasonal long journey as is typical. The narrative detailing Thonolan and Jondalar's trip from the Dordogne alternates, in counterpoint, with Ayla's story, introducing various Upper Paleolithic historical epoch cultures as visualized by Auel, as the brothers travel the long Danube River valley. They meet different peoples in the sparsely-settled and varied lands, as the great river gathers together the waters of two great mountain ranges and their foothills.
One common factor amongst these peoples is a religious belief in a "Great Earth Mother" or "Mother of All", which appears in their lore and influences their tribal names in one form or another. Auel incorporates the actual cultural artifacts known as the Venus figurines as a significant part of most these observances. These statuettes are tokens of the Great Mother of All and used in fertility rites ("First Rites"), festivals to honor the Mother (including ritual-permitted mate-swapping), and for protection (one is left to guard the premises when semi-migratory inhabitants head off to summer meetings and hunts). Auel suggests that various tribal groups pursued different anthropological means of organisation and leadership-government modes, so that each culture was distinct, albeit possessing similar myths and religious beliefs, whatever language it used and whatever name it gave to the Mother of All.
Lonely for the child she left behind, Ayla domesticates animals (an impulse also triggered by her loathing of hyenas) and learns to apply her inventiveness and problem-solving to the need to hunt large animals. Given that she was not trained or welcome in the hunting parties among Broud's clan, she must invent, for each new case, new techniques. Along the way, she accidentally comes to train her adopted horse, Whinney, to do her bidding and go where she wants. She also invents both the harness rig and travois, allowing her to harness the steppe-pony's strength and speed, to her own benefit.
Ayla repeats that domestication with the foundling cub of a gigantic cave lion. Named by her "Baby", in the language of the Clan, he leaves her care after reaching maturity but is later responsible for the death of Jondalar's brother Thonolan, when the men trespass into his territory. Because Ayla raised the cave lion, she is able to rescue Jondalar after he is seriously mauled. Ayla nurses Jondalar back to health, and the two fall in love. They quarrel and experience mutual cultural shocks and misunderstandings. Along the way, Ayla discovers fire-starting, using flint and iron in the form of the mineral pyrite. Together Jondalar and Ayla also invent the Atlatl or spear thrower.
The Mammoth Hunters
The third book in the series, The Mammoth Hunters, was released in fall 1985. It details Ayla's personal growth as she learns to cope with a society of widely disparate individuals and their unpredictable behaviors, mysterious motivations, and habits. Traveling about on a pre-winter holiday and exploring nearby regions on horseback, Ayla and Jondalar meet and end up making a prolonged visit with a tribe known as "The Lion camp of the Mamutoi" ("Mamutoi" meaning "Mammoth Hunters of the Great Earth Mother Mut"), who live relatively near Ayla's valley in present-day Ukraine.
The Mamutoi are Auel's nod to the tool culture identified as the Eastern Aurignacian. After an initial "wow" period, in which the people come to know Ayla, her horses, and Jondalar, Ayla's inexperience with other human beings and her consequent unfamiliarity with social situations results in her acceptance of an invitation to be adopted into the Lion Camp, despite Jondalar's love for her and his intention to take her to his own people, the Zelandonii, in southwestern France. Ayla's psychic scars and loss of her child figures large in her reasoning, as for a time she hopes to return to her Clan's peninsula and bring Durc back to live with her.
At the same time, Jondalar is attempting to give Ayla room to make her own decisions, but he is driven into outbursts born of over-concern. He therefore offers an opening to the tribe's resident artist and carver Ranec, an engaging half-black Mamutoi who is charming and handsome. The Mamutoi do adopt Ayla, but her love for Jondalar is threatened by her brief affair with Ranec, after a misunderstanding leads her to believe that Jondalar is no longer interested in her.
Ayla's history with the Clan, ability to train animals, and talent for invention result in many surprises for her new community. Not least among them is her rescue of a lone wolf cub, whose mother she had killed without knowing that she was not a member of a pack. The Lion Camp observes the training of the pup, as for the first time, Ayla purposefully determines how to domesticate an animal, abandoning the haphazard, unintentional training she'd given Baby and Whinney, the horse. Though she is alienated from Jondalar, they are able to discuss the training of the stallion Racer, Whinney's colt.
Ayla's growth in her ability to understand social interactions and motives burgeons as her earlier experience with the Clan's Great Meeting intersects with her experiences at the Mamutoi summer meeting. She is able to map old experiences and graft them onto new ones. Ultimately, she realizes that she and Jondalar have never had a clear discussion of his interests and preferences and of whether or not he cares for her as she cares for him. She is certain that she prefers Jondalar to Ranec and that she is looking forward to her mating with the latter as she would to a funeral for a much beloved child—that is, not at all.
The Mammoth Hunters ends with Jondalar, Ayla, the wolf, and their two horses beginning the long journey south to the mouths of the Danube, where the story segues into the beginning of the travel tale told in "The Plains of Passage".
The Plains of Passage
The Plains of Passage was released in November 1990. Ayla and Jondalar travel west, back to Zelandonii territory, encountering dangers from both nature and humans along the way. Her interactions often force the people around her to take a broader view and be more accepting of new ideas.
The Shelters of Stone
The Shelters of Stone was released on 30 April 2002. Ayla and Jondalar reach the Ninth Cave of the Zelandonii, Jondalar's home, and prepare to marry and have a child. Unfortunately, nothing is ever simple, especially for a woman with Ayla's background.
The Land of Painted Caves
The Land of Painted Caves, a sixth and final installment in the Earth Children's series was published on March 29, 2011. Author Jean M. Auel is quoted in September 2010 saying that in the book Ayla is now about 25 years old and training to become a spiritual leader of the Zelandonii. Her training includes a series of harrowing journeys.
Since the stories take place during the Würm glaciation, populations are small in number and are surviving mostly in hunter-gatherer fashion. Prior to the discovery of metals, the primary materials used for tools are leather, wood, bone, horn, and flint.
In Auel's series, two cultures vie for resources, space, and survival: the Clan, which is what Neanderthals call themselves, and the Cro-Magnons (whom Ayla, with her Clan upbringing, generally refers to as "The Others"). Both races are fairly different in culture, society and technology, but with some overlap: both depend on flint for their tools; both recognize the importance of fire and use it; both hunt and gather.
Physiologically, the Clan are heavier and broader but also shorter than the people of The Others. They are very slow to embrace change and to innovate, and they still chase after animals to spear them directly, whereas the Cro-Magnons are enthusiastic about innovation and have moved on to projectile spears. The Clan's tools, clothing, and household implements are similarly less refined and sometimes less effective than those of their Cro-Magnon counterparts, whose implements and other goods are more technologically sophisticated.
The Clan's reluctance to change is depicted by Auel as a function of their cognition; they are presented as dependent upon their racial-genetic memory. The average Clan child needs only be 'reminded' of a thing to know it permanently, though skilled tasks still require repetitive practice. Furthermore, the need to encode everything into a child's brain has increased the average Neanderthal head size to the point that, by the time of the first novel, women of the Clan are having trouble giving birth to their large-headed babies—a sign that their evolutionary strategy has run its course.
The "Flatheads", as "The Others" pejoratively call the Neanderthals (owing to their distinctive back-sloping foreheads), also have a far more limited vocal repertoire than The Others, and largely communicate instead via a gestural sign language, although spoken words are sometimes used to add emphasis to the gestures. Auel describes this language as being quite nuanced, especially as bodily posture, facial expression and other physical actions — in short, body language — can expedite and expand upon the basic vocabulary of the hand signals. A Cro-Magnon observing Ayla demonstrating a translation characterizes the language as dancelike and elegant.
For this reason, Clan members are highly adept at reading body language and cannot be deceived by lying; while one can spell an untruth with one's hands, one's posture will give it away. Consequently, the idea of telling an untruth is alien to Clan culture, a fact that Ayla needs time to conceptualize and understand. However, a Clan member can "refrain from mentioning" something she would prefer other people did not know, even though residual clues would probably reveal that something was being concealed. Cultural conventions, Auel suggests, would cause other Clan members to ignore the concealment out of sheer courtesy, though, again, Ayla has trouble grasping this concept.
Finally, the wider Clan possesses not only a colloquial, everyday "localized" language, but also a more formal "ancient" or "spirit language," used to converse with ancestors and understood by every Clan member, anywhere. This language facilitates easy communication at inter-regional meetings of normally separated groups and does not the require the multilingualism that the Others must acquire. This "spirit language" has no spoken words apart from personal names, and its users generally refer to themselves in the third person.
In Auel's context, our human ancestors, The Cro-Magnon "Others," generally look upon the "Flatheads" as animals, hardly better than bears (the lack of vocal language is a primary factor in this verdict); the Clan, for their part, seem to have no strong opinions about the Others, other than considering their spoken language as babbling and a sign of their lack of intellect. Otherwise, they have concluded it is best simply to avoid the Cro-Magnon men.
Accurate to current DNA evidence, Auel depicts Cro-Magnons and Neanderthals as able to interbreed. The mixed-race children are generally not favorably regarded by either group. As in many historical cultures, malformed Clan children are routinely subjected to exposure, while the Others may allow such children to live but prejudicially label them as 'abominations'. Such children and their experiences enter the plotline in several books of the series.
"Children of mixed spirits", as the Cro-Magnons call them, are mis-matched combinations of both Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal phenotypes physiologically as they are genetic hybrids, with some traits (like facial features) appearing blurred or distorted when compared side-by-side. Of the four mixed-race people depicted (thus far) in the series, only one has had the restricted vocal range of the Clan (Rydag, from The Mammoth Hunters), and all but one has been seen using Clan sign language, the sole exception being the difficult and disconsolate self-loathing Brukeval (who is in clear psychological denial about his ancestry), in the The Shelters of Stone.
"The Clan" is an overarching term; every Neanderthal is a member of the Clan. Organizationally, they live in smaller tribes, also called "clans" but named after the man who leads them; for instance, Ayla is adopted into Brun's clan. Later, when Brun steps down and, as is traditional, passes leadership of the clan on to the son of his mate, it becomes known as Broud's clan. Every seven years, Clans from the immediate area meet in a Clan Gathering; the only one Auel has depicted consisted of approximately 250 people. The Clan is mostly patriarchal: women cannot hunt, make hunting tools, lead a Clan or become a Mog-ur (a spiritual leader or shaman). But men cannot become medicine women, a job that is almost as prestigious as clan leader. Unlike other women, whose status depends on the status of their mates, a medicine woman has status in her own right and can, if her line is illustrious enough, even outrank the leader's mate.
"The Earth Children" is an overarching term; their primary allegiances are to their people and their caves. Each culture has a name for itself (Zelandonii, for instance, means "Children of the Great Earth Mother who live in the Southwest") and may subdivide into smaller Caves or Camps (the Twenty-Ninth Cave of the Zelandonii, the Lion Camp of the Mamutoi). Curiously, however, most Other culture names includes their word for Great Earth Mother: Doni in Zelandonii, Mut in Mamutoi ("Children of the Great Earth Mother who hunt Mammoths"), Gaea in Sungaea (translation unknown), etc. Their culture is far more egalitarian, with different twists and customs at every hand; Mamutoi Camps, for instance, are co-ruled by headmen and headwomen who are biological, or adoptive, siblings, and the Sharamudoi, a people that lives half-on and -off the Great Mother River, form complex co-mate systems between river couples (Ramudoi) and land couples (Shamudoi). Each entire people generally gathers for Summer Meetings every year, during which a number of important ceremonies, such as the Matrimonial, take place.
The Clan worships animal spirits, most notably Ursus the Cave Bear, for, as is related in one of the best known Clan legends, it was the Spirit of the Great Cave Bear that taught the Clan to wear fur, live in caves, and store up reserves during the seasons of abundance in order to survive the winter. The honoring of Ursus is what binds the Clan together as a people, and it is for this reason that the Bear Ceremony, and Feast of Ursus which follows it, held at the Clan Gathering are the highest religious rituals of the Clan. As described in Chapter 22 of Clan of the Cave Bear when Brun's clan chanced to see a living cave bear on their way to the Clan Gathering, "But it was more than the tremendous size of the animal that held the clan spellbound. This was Ursus, the personification of the Clan itself. He was their kin, and more, he embodied their very essence. His bones alone were so sacred they could ward off any evil. The kinship they felt was a spiritual tie, far more meaningful than any physical one. It was through his spirit that all clans were united into one and meaning was given to the Gathering they had traveled so far to attend. It was his essence that made them Clan, the Clan of the Cave Bear."
The Clan's animal spirits are always male. However, in the early days of the Clan, weather spirits such as Wind and Rain—spirits whose worship is so ancient that Creb had to use deep meditation to find them in the Clan memories—bore female names. Goov, Creb's apprentice, also speculates that Ayla's totem may be the Cave Lioness, rather than the Cave Lion, although this would be unprecedented in the Clan.
In the ancient days when the weather spirits were honored, roles within the Clan had not yet become so markedly differentiated by sex—for example, women still hunted alongside the men when they didn't have little children which needed their care. At this time, women were also the ones in charge of the spiritual life of the Clan. Because they once controlled access to the spirit world, and because the ceremonies involved begging the Clan spirits in what could be considered an unmanly fashion, Clan tradition holds that should a woman see one of the men's religious ceremonies the clan in which this occurred would suffer disaster. When a ceremony invoking the weather spirits is held to sanction Ayla's hunting especially strong protection was required for the men, both to guard against the presence of a female at the ceremony and because the ancient spirits were feared as much as they were honored in the days when they were worshiped. Ayla's subsequent accidental observation of one of the highest ceremonies at the Clan Gathering is interpreted by Creb to foretell doom for the entire Clan of the Cave Bear, as those ceremonies have meaning for all the clans of the Clan, even those not present at the Gathering.
All Clan members are assigned a totem at birth, and boys are marked with that totem's ritual tattoo as part of the ceremony that marks their passage from child to man following their first major hunting kill. People are also believed to possess personality traits similar to those of their totem spirit; Broud, quick-tempered, stubborn and unpredictable like a woolly rhinoceros (his totem spirit) is a prime example. Totems are also responsible for pregnancy; a woman's moon time is believed to be her totem fighting off the presences of marauding male totems; for this reason, women's totems are almost invariably weaker than those of men and women may not associate with men during menstruation. Should the male totem prove stronger, the woman will become pregnant. If the totem is not strong enough by itself, it may ask for the help of one or more other totems, in which case it may be one of the other totems that leaves behind an impregnating essence. It is considered especially lucky for a boy to have the same totem as the mate of his mother. Totems are assigned by Mog-urs, men whose talent is understanding of the world of spirits. Each individual Clan has its own Mog-ur, but one is traditionally recognized as being first among them.
The Clan also believe that, if someone survives a cave bear attack, it means that person is now under the protection of Ursus and may claim the Cave Bear as their totem, in addition to the totem they were assigned in early childhood. Unlike other Clan totems, there is no specific mark for the Cave Bear and the Cave Bear is believed not to play a role in the conception, although it may be called on to help subdue a woman's unusually strong totem. In "Clan of the Cave Bear", two people, Creb and a man injured by a cave bear at a Clan Gathering, are described as being "chosen" in this way.
The Others worship the Great Earth Mother, and to some extent the Moon, her Fair Celestial Mate. The Great Earth Mother goes by many names, depending on the language, but is worshipped unconditionally as the source of all bounty, and carved depictions of her proliferate. Faith and guidance are administered by spiritual leaders of both sexes, with different names depending on the language. Among most of the peoples described, Those Who Serve abandon their personal names in favor of the name of their people and god. (The Mamutoi are the only depicted exception so far: only the Mamut of the Lion Camp, who is first amongst his priesthood due to his age and spiritual power, no longer uses any name but Mamut—mostly because no one remembers his original name!) To avoid confusion, among the Zelandonii they generally take appendices after their cave (e.g. Zelandoni of the Ninth Cave, First Acolyte to the Zelandonii of the Second Cave, etc.), leading Ayla to muse that they have traded their names for counting words i.e. numbers. As with the Clan, one among Those Who Serve is generally acknowledged (or elected) First.
Sex and reproduction
Whether accurately or not, Auel has incorporated sex into her prehistoric culture in a number of unique ways. While neither Clan nor Other society requires monogamy, a major difference is that in the former, sex can be treated as a purely physical need, whereas in the latter, it is always imbued with something of the sacred. For the Others, nothing is more abhorrent than the idea of sex without consent, and sexual rituals form a significant part of their culture.
Among the Clan, there exists a hand sign that only men can make and only women can receive, instructing the female in question to present for sexual intercourse. Any man of the Clan (a male who has made his first hunting kill) may give this instruction to any woman of the Clan (a female who has passed menarche), should he feel the need to "relieve his needs," regardless of marital status. (The female's state of arousal is never addressed directly, but since Clan women are able to flirt with men using seductive and inviting body language, enjoyment of the act is not unknown.) Because the Clan believes babies are created by the Totems and have no concept of any connection between copulation and conception, lines of descent are matrilineal, but any children a man's mate bears are considered his heirs (especially in regards to the son of the leader's mate becoming the future leader), and he is expected to provide for her family and train her sons to hunt. Who is mated to whom is decided solely by the men, though wise leaders do of course take the prospective bride's feelings into account; the few Clans depicted average less than fifty members, and even one discordant pairing can cause trouble.
Sexual maturity is the subject of semi-religious customs among the Others, both of which take place at Summer Meetings. Every year, women volunteer to become sexual tutors to boys who have reached maturity; the name of their office changes from culture to culture, but they are generally furnished with some distinguishing marking, often the Mother's sacred color red (red dye on the soles of the feet for the Mamutoi; a red fringe among the Zelandonii). These women are often pregnant by the end of the summer, which is believed to be the Great Earth Mother smiling upon their piety. Young women who have reached menarche, on the other hand, are the subject of a far more formal ceremony called First Rites, in which she is ritually deflowered by a man (often specially chosen by her friends and family). Both these relationships are meant to be solely physical, and social contact between the involved parties is frowned upon for at least a year afterwards. Finally, during "Mother Festivals" which take place at various times of the year, men and women are free to copulate with whomever they choose. Once again, these polygamous practices blur the lines of heredity, and descent is generally traced only through one's mother. However, certain familial resemblances have been noticed (for instance, Jondalar looks almost identical to Dalanar, his mother's spouse at the time of Jondalar's conception), which has led to the belief that the Great Earth Mother chooses the "spirit" or "essence" of a nearby man to impregnate the woman with. Ayla's more accurate belief that children are the result of sexual activity is treated with skepticism among the Others: their women are seldom celibate, which makes the connection between sex and pregnancy harder to isolate.
Homosexual relationships are portrayed as acceptable, if rare. The Zelandonii religious order features at least one homosexual male with a male partner.
- "Ancient DNA and Neanderthals". Smithsonian Human Origins Program. c. 2009.
- "Neanderthals, Humans Interbred—First Solid DNA Evidence". National Geographic News. May 6, 2010.
- ALA's 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-2000, Accessed 2009-04-28
- "New Jean Auel". May 27, 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-27.
- "Jean Auel expands, celebrates her 'Clan of the Cave Bear'". USA Today. September 13, 2010.
- Jean M. Auel Official web site
- Earth's Children series listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- The Smithsonian Institution's Human Origins Program: Ancient DNA and Neanderthals
- International Discussion Forum