Neanderthal


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Neanderthal

An extinct modern Homo that lived between 230,000 and 22,000 years ago (the last known Neanderthals have been found in the Gravettian region of France). Neanderthals mostly lived in cold climates; their body proportions are similar to those of modern cold-adapted peoples: short and solid, with short limbs. Men averaged ±168 cm; their bones were thick and heavy, and showed signs of powerful muscle attachments. Neanderthals would have been quite strong by modern standards, and their skeletons show that they endured brutally hard lives.

Many Neanderthal tools and weapons have been found and they were more advanced than the tools of Homo erectus. Neanderthals were hunters, and the first Homo spp known to have buried their dead—the oldest known burial site is ±100,000 years old. Neanderthal skeletons are found throughout Europe and the Middle East. The “classic” western European Neanderthals were more robust than those found elsewhere. The average brain size, about 1450 cc, is larger than that of modern humans, but this correlated with their greater bulk; the cranial cavity is longer and lower than that of modern humans, with a marked bulge at the back.

Anatomy
Like Homo erectus, Neanderthals had a protruding jaw and receding forehead. The chin was weak, and the midfacial area also protrudes, a feature not found in Homo erectus or Homo sapiens, which may have been an adaptation to cold. Other minor anatomic differences from modern humans include peculiarities of the shoulder blade and pubic bone.
References in periodicals archive ?
Ainara Sistiaga, a graduate student at the University of La Laguna who led the analysis as a visiting student at MIT, said they have passed through different phases in our interpretation of Neanderthals.
The difference between where Neanderthal DNA is plentiful and where it's absent may help scientists understand what in our genome ''makes humans human,'' said University of Washington genome scientist Joshua Akey, lead author of the paper in Science.
This mtDNA was then compared with samples from modern humans, apes, Denisovans and Neanderthals.
At the 1863 happening, Prof William King gave a paper on the subject of Neanderthals, which lost out in the evolutionary race with the ancestors of today's human race.
LOOK J Neanderthal eye sockets, left, are larger than homo sapiens'
Neanderthals were already in Europe when the first members of our species, Homo sapiens, ventured out of their African homeland.
Researcher Dr Dolores Piperno said: "Our results indicate that Neanderthals made use of the diverse plant foods available in their local environment.
Even if his composition was an exact replica of music made by Neanderthal man, it would sound entirely different hearing it in a modern theatre rather than in the cave dwellings of thousands of years ago, so the performance features a commissioned film that leads the viewer into a cave.
This film follows researchers around the world as they bid to crack the Neanderthal code and solve an evolutionary mystery, while reconstructions bring the world of ancient humans to life.
Neanderthals have spoken out for the first time in 30,000 years, with the help of scientists who have simulated their voices using fossil evidence and a computer synthesiser.
There is added evidence that chance, rather than natural selection, best explains why the skulls of modern humans and ancient Neanderthals evolved differently.