I remember reading a short story in a sci-fi magazine at least 30 years ago about a couple on vacation and meeting a strange looking, hairy person who claims to be largely of Neanderthal stock and that he psychically time travels back to a time when Neanderthals dominated the Earth. He is trying to influence the Neanderthals' behavior in the past so they don't die off.

The name is something like "Hairy Parent" and plays on the pun with Heir Apparent. Can't find in normal searches. Would love to know the author and if the text is available.


1 Answer 1


This sounds very much like The Hairy Parents, a short story by A. Bertram Chandler first published in 1975.

The story is set at a resort on the Queensland coast, and the protagonist meets an unusually hairy, bow-legged man and discuss the reasons for the Neanderthals dying out. The man says it is due to them suffering from vitamin D deficiency, since they wrapped themselves in furs and never exposed their skin to the sun. He claims to be able to send his consciousness back in time:

"When I smoke, it takes my mind back to the Ice Age in Europe ... My mind? It takes me back, I see what my ancestors saw, I feel what they felt, I know what it's like to stand up to a bear armed with only a stone axe, and come out on top. I've watched the women scraping the hide with their stone knives, cutting it to pattern, sewing it with their bone needles with sinew for thread .. "

His aim is to start a religious cult involving ceremonial exposure of the skin to sunlight. The final line of the story is indeed a play on the words "Hairy Parent"

And suppose that somewhen in the remote Past the world was being switched on to a different Time Track ...

Was Neanderthal Man, rather than his Cromagnon cousin, the Heir Apparent?

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