The neanderthals, our closest relatives, lived in Eurasia more than 200 thousand years ago. However little we know of them, it’s more than we have known about any other “homo”-genus. Here are some amazing facts about Neanderthals.
They had a strong reasoning capacity
Although lower than Homo-Sapiens, they too had an amazing reasoning capacity. Through their fossil study, paleontologists have discovered their skulls to be bulkier and larger than Homo-Sapiens. In fact, we have inherited are large brains from Neanderthals.
Homo-Sapiens and homo-neanderthalensis co-existed
There is a good reason to believe it after studying several evidences. They might have even cross-bred. Many of us might have had neanderthals as their great great great…great grandparents. Neanderthals were restricted to modern Europe but might have migrated to Asia due to climate change and crossed with Homo-Sapiens.
Physical characteristics of Neanderthals
Their brains were larger than humans. The brain of a male Neanderthal measured 1,600 cm3, while the modern human male’s brain measured 1,300 cm3.
Because Neanderthals lived during the ice age, they were well adapted to the cold climate. They had stout and short bodies for better protection against the cold.
They had stronger and sturdier body than humans. Measuring upto 1.65 meters tall, they had better developed musculature.
It is debatable whether they could speak like humans do. It is believed that they were capable of speech because of a bone hyoid found in the vocal tract of both humans and neanderthals. They might have been capable of producing vowel sounds, which is quite advance as compared to other species of “homo”-genus.
Just like humans, neanderthals were very socials. They put effort to live the family life and take care of the weak and sick. It is confirmed that they buried their dead. A cave in France was found that was once a burial site of the Neanderthals.
Judging from the level of social life, they might have had a good communication, either through signs or through words.
They knew how to use fire and had many other tools
They used tools to cut meat, wood and hard fruits. It is not known whether they knew how to produce fire, but they weren’t afraid of it and knew how to use it.
They wore leather
Because they lived in extremely cold weather, they used the skin of dead animals to cover themselves in low temperatures.
The Lapedo – The human neanderthal hybrid
In 1908 a skeleton was found in Leiria (Portugal) confirmed that the two species did cross each other. The remains of the child had the facial features of a modern human while the bones and their structure were typical of a Neanderthal man.
Neanderthals were more promiscuous
It is believed so because they had higher testosterone levels. The same was determined by studying the length of their fingers, wherein their index fingers were longer than the ring finger.
Some more cool Neanderthal facts
1. The Neanderthals were also mostly right-handed
2. They are called cavemen because because most of the Neanderthal fossils found in Eurasia are found in deep caves.
3. They controlled fire, used tools made of stone and animal horns and could use rocks to improve their sharpness.
4. The ancestors of Neanderthals were Heidelbergensis.
5. The name Neanderthal is derived from the name of the place where their traces were found was in the Neander valley, in Germany.
6. They went extinct about 29,000 years ago.