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Neanderthal

Neanderthal

Overview
The Neanderthal is an extinct member of the Homo
Homo (genus)
Homo is the genus that includes modern humans and species closely related to them. The genus is estimated to be about 2.3 to 2.4 million years old, evolving from australopithecine ancestors with the appearance of Homo habilis....

genus
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 known from Pleistocene
Pleistocene
The Pleistocene is the epoch from 2,588,000 to 11,700 years BP that spans the world's recent period of repeated glaciations. The name pleistocene is derived from the Greek and ....

 specimen
Specimen
A specimen is a portion/quantity of material for use in testing, examination, or study.BiologyA laboratory specimen is an individual animal, part of an animal, a plant, part of a plant, or a microorganism, used as a representative to study the properties of the whole population of that species or...

s found in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 and parts of western and central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

. Neanderthals are classified either as a subspecies
Subspecies
Subspecies in biological classification, is either a taxonomic rank subordinate to species, ora taxonomic unit in that rank . A subspecies cannot be recognized in isolation: a species will either be recognized as having no subspecies at all or two or more, never just one...

 of Homo sapiens (Homo sapiens neanderthalensis) or as a separate human species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 (Homo neanderthalensis).

The first proto-Neanderthal traits
Trait (biology)
A trait is a distinct variant of a phenotypic character of an organism that may be inherited, environmentally determined or be a combination of the two...

 appeared in Europe as early as 600,000–350,000 years ago.
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Encyclopedia
The Neanderthal is an extinct member of the Homo
Homo (genus)
Homo is the genus that includes modern humans and species closely related to them. The genus is estimated to be about 2.3 to 2.4 million years old, evolving from australopithecine ancestors with the appearance of Homo habilis....

genus
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 known from Pleistocene
Pleistocene
The Pleistocene is the epoch from 2,588,000 to 11,700 years BP that spans the world's recent period of repeated glaciations. The name pleistocene is derived from the Greek and ....

 specimen
Specimen
A specimen is a portion/quantity of material for use in testing, examination, or study.BiologyA laboratory specimen is an individual animal, part of an animal, a plant, part of a plant, or a microorganism, used as a representative to study the properties of the whole population of that species or...

s found in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 and parts of western and central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

. Neanderthals are classified either as a subspecies
Subspecies
Subspecies in biological classification, is either a taxonomic rank subordinate to species, ora taxonomic unit in that rank . A subspecies cannot be recognized in isolation: a species will either be recognized as having no subspecies at all or two or more, never just one...

 of Homo sapiens (Homo sapiens neanderthalensis) or as a separate human species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 (Homo neanderthalensis).

The first proto-Neanderthal traits
Trait (biology)
A trait is a distinct variant of a phenotypic character of an organism that may be inherited, environmentally determined or be a combination of the two...

 appeared in Europe as early as 600,000–350,000 years ago. Proto-Neanderthal traits are occasionally grouped with another phenetic
Phenetics
In biology, phenetics, also known as taximetrics, is an attempt to classify organisms based on overall similarity, usually in morphology or other observable traits, regardless of their phylogeny or evolutionary relation. It is closely related to numerical taxonomy which is concerned with the use of...

 'species', Homo heidelbergensis
Homo heidelbergensis
Homo heidelbergensis is an extinct species of the genus Homo which may be the direct ancestor of both Homo neanderthalensis in Europe and Homo sapiens. The best evidence found for these hominins date between 600,000 and 400,000 years ago. H...

, or a migrant form, Homo rhodesiensis
Homo rhodesiensis
Homo rhodesiensis is a hominin species described from the fossil Kabwe skull. Other morphologically-comparable remains have been found from the same, or earlier, time period in southern Africa , East Africa and North Africa...

.

Genetic evidence
Neanderthal Genome Project
The Neanderthal genome project is a collaboration of scientists coordinated by the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany and 454 Life Sciences in the United States to sequence the Neanderthal genome....

 suggests interbreeding took place with anatomically modern humans
Anatomically modern humans
The term anatomically modern humans in paleoanthropology refers to early individuals of Homo sapiens with an appearance consistent with the range of phenotypes in modern humans....

 between roughly 80,000 and 50,000 years ago in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

, resulting in 1–4% of the genome of people from Eurasia
Eurasia
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

 having been contributed by Neanderthals.

The youngest Neanderthal finds include Hyaena Den (UK), considered older than 30,000 years ago, while the Vindija (Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

) Neanderthals have been re-dated to between 33,000 and 32,000 years ago. No definite specimens younger than 30,000 years ago have been found; however, evidence of fire by Neanderthals at Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. A peninsula with an area of , it has a northern border with Andalusia, Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is the major landmark of the region...

 indicate they may have survived there until 24,000 years ago. Cro-Magnon
Cro-Magnon
The Cro-Magnon were the first early modern humans of the European Upper Paleolithic. The earliest known remains of Cro-Magnon-like humans are radiometrically dated to 35,000 years before present....

 or early modern human skeletal remains with 'Neanderthal traits' were found in Lagar Velho (Portugal), dated to 24,500 years ago and interpreted as indications of extensively admixed populations.

Several cultural assemblages have been linked to the Neanderthals in Europe. The earliest, the Mousterian stone tool culture, dates to about 300,000 years ago. Later Mousterian culture is also seen in Asia, and in Africa dated after 150,000 years ago at the Jebel Irhoud
Jebel Irhoud
Jebel Irhoud is an archaeological cave site located near Sidi Moktar, about 100 km west of Marrakesh, Morocco. Since circa 1991 7 significant hominid fossils have been discovered, and are currently dated to circa 160,000 years ago. The fossils include portions of two adult skulls , a child’s...

 site located 620 km south of Giblartar. Late Mousterian artifacts
Artifact (archaeology)
An artifact or artefact is "something made or given shape by man, such as a tool or a work of art, esp an object of archaeological interest"...

 were found in Gorham's Cave
Gorham's Cave
Gorham's Cave is a natural sea cave in Gibraltar, considered to be one of the last known habitations of the Neanderthals. It is located on the south east face of the Rock of Gibraltar...

 on the remote south-facing coast of Gibraltar. Other tool culture
Archaeological culture
An archaeological culture is a recurring assemblage of artifacts from a specific time and place, which are thought to constitute the material culture remains of a particular past human society. The connection between the artifacts is based on archaeologists' understanding and interpretation and...

s associated with Neanderthal include Châtelperronian
Châtelperronian
Châtelperronian was the earliest industry of the Upper Palaeolithic in central and south western France, extending also into Northern Spain. It derives its name from the site of la Grotte des Fées, in Châtelperron, Allier, France....

, Aurignacian
Aurignacian
The Aurignacian culture is an archaeological culture of the Upper Palaeolithic, located in Europe and southwest Asia. It lasted broadly within the period from ca. 45,000 to 35,000 years ago in terms of conventional radiocarbon dating, or between ca. 47,000 and 41,000 years ago in terms of the most...

, and Gravettian
Gravettian
thumb|right|Burins to the Gravettian culture.The Gravettian toolmaking culture was a specific archaeological industry of the European Upper Palaeolithic era prevalent before the last glacial epoch. It is named after the type site of La Gravette in the Dordogne region of France where its...

, developed with gradual continuity not distributed by population change.

Neanderthal cranial capacity
Cranial capacity
Cranial capacity is a measure of the volume of the interior of the cranium of those vertebrates who have both a cranium and a brain. The most commonly used unit of measure is the cubic centimetre or cc...

 is thought to have been as large as that of a Homo sapiens, perhaps larger, indicating their brain size may have been comparable, or larger, as well. In 2008, a group of scientists created a study using three-dimensional computer-assisted reconstructions of Neanderthal infants based on fossils found in Russia and Syria. The study showed Neanderthal and modern human brains were the same size at birth, but by adulthood, the Neandertal brain was larger than the modern human brain. They were much stronger than Homo sapiens, having particularly strong arms and hands. Males stood 168 – and females about 152 – tall.

In 2010 a U.S. researcher reported finding cooked plant matter in the teeth of a Neanderthal skull, contradicting the earlier belief they were exclusively (or almost exclusively) carnivorous
Carnivore
A carnivore meaning 'meat eater' is an organism that derives its energy and nutrient requirements from a diet consisting mainly or exclusively of animal tissue, whether through predation or scavenging...

 and apex predator
Apex predator
Apex predators are predators that have no predators of their own, residing at the top of their food chain. Zoologists define predation as the killing and consumption of another organism...

s.

Etymology


The species is named after the Neander valley, located about 12 km (7.5 mi) east of Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf is the capital city of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and centre of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region.Düsseldorf is an important international business and financial centre and renowned for its fashion and trade fairs. Located centrally within the European Megalopolis, the...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. This ravine formed by the river Düssel
Düssel
The Düssel is a small right tributary of the River Rhine in North Rhine Westphalia, Germany. Its source is between Wülfrath and Velbert. It flows westward through the Neander Valley where the fossils of the first Neanderthal man were found in 1856...

, widened out by mining, was named Neanderthal in the early 19th century to honour the clergyman and hymn writer Joachim Neander
Joachim Neander
Joachim Neander was a German Reformed Church teacher, theologian and hymn writer whose most famous hymn, Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation is generally regarded as one of the greatest hymns of praise of the Christian church and, since being translated into English by...

: "Tal" (spelled "Thal" until the German spelling reform of 1901) is the German word for valley.

The fossil discovered in the Feldhofer Cave in the limestone cliffs of the Neanderthal in 1856, Neanderthal 1
Neanderthal 1
Feldhofer 1, Neanderthal 1 is the common name for the initial 40,000-year-old Neanderthal specimen found in Kleine Feldhofer Grotte in August 1856. It represents the beginning of paleoanthropology as a scientific discipline....

, was known as the "Neanderthal skull" or "Neanderthal cranium" in anthropological literature, and the individual reconstructed on the basis of the skull was occasionally called the "Neanderthal man".
The binomial name Homo neanderthalensis, extending the name "Neanderthal man" from the individual type specimen to the entire species, was proposed by the Anglo-Irish
Anglo-Irish
Anglo-Irish was a term used primarily in the 19th and early 20th centuries to identify a privileged social class in Ireland, whose members were the descendants and successors of the Protestant Ascendancy, mostly belonging to the Church of Ireland, which was the established church of Ireland until...

 geologist
Geologist
A geologist is a scientist who studies the solid and liquid matter that constitutes the Earth as well as the processes and history that has shaped it. Geologists usually engage in studying geology. Geologists, studying more of an applied science than a theoretical one, must approach Geology using...

 William King
William King (geologist)
William King , an Anglo-Irish geologist at Queen's College Galway, was the first to propose that the bones found in Neanderthal, Germany in 1856 were not of human origin, but of a distinct species: Homo neanderthalensis. He proposed the name of this new species at a meeting of the British...

 in 1864. This had priority over the proposal put forward in 1866 by Ernst Haeckel
Ernst Haeckel
The "European War" became known as "The Great War", and it was not until 1920, in the book "The First World War 1914-1918" by Charles à Court Repington, that the term "First World War" was used as the official name for the conflict.-Research:...

, Homo stupidus.

The practice of referring to the members of the species simply as "the Neanderthals", singular "a Neanderthal", emerges in popular literature of the 1920s.

The spelling of the German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 word Thal ("dale, valley"), was changed to Tal in 1901, and the spelling of the valley was also changed accordingly to Neandertal. The former spelling is, however, often retained in English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 for the hominid. The spelling with th is in addition always used in scientific names throughout the world. In German, however, the modern spelling with t is used in referring to both the hominid and the valley. Neandertal is a widespread alternative spelling in English.

The pronunciation
German phonology
This article is about the phonology of the German language based on standard German. It deals with current phonology and phonetics as well as with historical developments thereof, including geographical variants .Since German is a pluricentric language, there are a number of different...

 of the German name Neandert(h)aler (regardless of spelling) is [neˈandɐˌtʰaːlɐ]. American English speakers commonly pronounce it as /θ/ (th as in thin), but American scientists usually use /t/ . British English speakers usually pronounce it as /t/ followed by a long a as in tar, matching the German pronunciation.
The pronunciation /niːˈændərθɔːl/ is very common in the United States and is often listed first in US dictionaries, for example American Heritage Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language is an American dictionary of the English language published by Boston publisher Houghton Mifflin, the first edition of which appeared in 1969...

 and Random House Dictionaries. The UK pronunciation is /niːˈændərtɑːl/, as shown in Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary, and Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary.

Classification




For some time, scientists have debated whether Neanderthals should be classified as Homo neanderthalensis or "Homo sapiens neanderthalensis", the latter placing Neanderthals as a subspecies
Subspecies
Subspecies in biological classification, is either a taxonomic rank subordinate to species, ora taxonomic unit in that rank . A subspecies cannot be recognized in isolation: a species will either be recognized as having no subspecies at all or two or more, never just one...

 of Homo sapiens. Some morphological studies support the view that Homo neanderthalensis is a separate species and not a subspecies. Others, for example University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest university in both the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world , and the seventh-oldest globally...

 Professor Paul Mellars
Paul Mellars
Sir Paul Anthony Mellars FBA is Professor of Pre-History and Human Evolution in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge.- Academic career:...

, say "no evidence has been found of cultural interaction" and evidence from mitochondrial DNA
Mitochondrial DNA
Mitochondrial DNA is the DNA located in organelles called mitochondria, structures within eukaryotic cells that convert the chemical energy from food into a form that cells can use, adenosine triphosphate...

 studies have been interpreted as evidence Neanderthals were not a subspecies of H. sapiens, though more recent genomic evidence showed otherwise. And as a result of strong evidence of interbreeding between the two races in order to give fertile offspring, some scientists are being inclined more and more to classify the Neanderthal as a subspecies of H. sapiens, as by definition in biology, two different species can not produce fertile offspring.

Neanderthals evolved from early Homo
Homo
Homo may refer to:*the Greek prefix ὅμο-, meaning "the same"*the Latin for man, human being*Homo, the taxonomical genus including modern humans...

along a path similar to Homo sapiens, both deriving from a chimp-like ancestor between five and years ago. Like H. sapiens, Neanderthals are related to Australopithecus
Australopithecus
Australopithecus is a genus of hominids that is now extinct. From the evidence gathered by palaeontologists and archaeologists, it appears that the Australopithecus genus evolved in eastern Africa around 4 million years ago before spreading throughout the continent and eventually becoming extinct...

, Homo habilis
Homo habilis
Homo habilis is a species of the genus Homo, which lived from approximately at the beginning of the Pleistocene period. The discovery and description of this species is credited to both Mary and Louis Leakey, who found fossils in Tanzania, East Africa, between 1962 and 1964. Homo habilis Homo...

, and Homo ergaster
Homo ergaster
Homo ergaster is an extinct chronospecies of Homo that lived in eastern and southern Africa during the early Pleistocene, about 2.5–1.7 million years ago.There is still disagreement on the subject of the classification, ancestry, and progeny of H...

; the exact descent remains uncertain. The last common ancestor between anatomically modern Homo sapiens and Neanderthals appears to be Homo rhodesiensis
Homo rhodesiensis
Homo rhodesiensis is a hominin species described from the fossil Kabwe skull. Other morphologically-comparable remains have been found from the same, or earlier, time period in southern Africa , East Africa and North Africa...

, named after an archaic Homo sapiens
Archaic Homo sapiens
Archaic Homo sapiens is a loosely defined term used to describe a number of varieties of Homo, as opposed to anatomically modern humans , in the period beginning 500,000 years ago....

 fossil, Broken hill 1 (Kabwe 1) discovered in the territory of Rhodesia
Northern Rhodesia
Northern Rhodesia was a territory in south central Africa, formed in 1911. It became independent in 1964 as Zambia.It was initially administered under charter by the British South Africa Company and formed by it in 1911 by amalgamating North-Western Rhodesia and North-Eastern Rhodesia...

 in 1921.

Homo rhodesiensis arose in Africa an estimated 0.7 to years ago. The earliest estimates for Homo rhodesiensis reaching Europe are approximately years ago when a type of human referred to as Homo antecessor
Homo antecessor
Homo antecessor is an extinct human species dating from 1.2 million to 800,000 years ago, that was discovered by Eudald Carbonell, Juan Luis Arsuaga and J. M. Bermúdez de Castro. H. antecessor is one of the earliest known human varieties in Europe. Various archaeologists and anthropologists have...

or Homo cepranensis
Homo cepranensis
Homo cepranensis is a proposed name for a human species, known from only one skull cap discovered in 1994. The fossil was discovered by archeologist Italo Biddittu and was nicknamed "Ceprano Man" after a nearby town in the province of Frosinone, 89 kilometers Southeast of Rome, Italy.The age of...

already inhabited the region. These two human types may be forerunners to European Homo heidelbergensis; however, stone tools dating from 1.2 to years ago of an unknown creator have been discovered in south-western Europe. The evidence at the Sima de los Huesos (in the Atapuerca cave system on the Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

) suggests Homo heidelbergensis was already in Europe by 600,000 years ago.

Molecular phylogenetic
Phylogenetics
In biology, phylogenetics is the study of evolutionary relatedness among groups of organisms , which is discovered through molecular sequencing data and morphological data matrices...

 analysis suggests Homo rhodesiensis and Homo heidelbergensis continued to intermix until 350,000 years ago, after which they were separate species, and sometime within the last 200,000 years Homo heidelbergensis evolved into Homo neanderthalensis, the classic Neanderthal human. It appears the original Neanderthal population was, in fact, more distantly related to today's human than is Homo heidelbergensis. However, recent evidence of successful interbreeding between Neanderthals and modern humans has made that issue moot, at least insofar as some Neanderthal populations were concerned.

Discovery


Neanderthal skulls were first discovered in Engis Caves (fr), in what is now Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 (1829) by Philippe-Charles Schmerling
Philippe-Charles Schmerling
Philippe-Charles Schmerling is a Belgian prehistorian, pioneer in paleontology, paleoanthropology, paleopathology and geologist. He is often considered the founder of paleontology....

 and in Forbes' Quarry, Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. A peninsula with an area of , it has a northern border with Andalusia, Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is the major landmark of the region...

 (1848), both prior to the type specimen discovery in a limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

 quarry of the Neander Valley
Neanderthal, Germany
The Neandertal is a small valley of the river Düssel in the German Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia, located about east of Düsseldorf, the capital city of North Rhine-Westphalia. The valley belongs to the area of the towns Erkrath and Mettmann...

 in Erkrath
Erkrath
Erkrath is a town in the district of Mettmann, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany-Geography:Erkrath is situated on the Düssel river, directly east of Düsseldorf and west of Wuppertal, close to the famous Neandertal....

 near Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf is the capital city of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and centre of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region.Düsseldorf is an important international business and financial centre and renowned for its fashion and trade fairs. Located centrally within the European Megalopolis, the...

 in August 1856, three years before Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin FRS was an English naturalist. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.He published his theory...

's On the Origin of Species was published.

The type specimen, dubbed Neanderthal 1
Neanderthal 1
Feldhofer 1, Neanderthal 1 is the common name for the initial 40,000-year-old Neanderthal specimen found in Kleine Feldhofer Grotte in August 1856. It represents the beginning of paleoanthropology as a scientific discipline....

, consisted of a skull cap, two femora
Femur
The femur , or thigh bone, is the most proximal bone of the leg in tetrapod vertebrates capable of walking or jumping, such as most land mammals, birds, many reptiles such as lizards, and amphibians such as frogs. In vertebrates with four legs such as dogs and horses, the femur is found only in...

, three bones from the right arm, two from the left arm, part of the left ilium
Pelvis
In human anatomy, the pelvis is the lower part of the trunk, between the abdomen and the lower limbs .The pelvis includes several structures:...

, fragments of a scapula
Scapula
In anatomy, the scapula , omo, or shoulder blade, is the bone that connects the humerus with the clavicle ....

, and ribs. The workers who recovered this material originally thought it to be the remains of a bear
Bear
Bears are mammals of the family Ursidae. Bears are classified as caniforms, or doglike carnivorans, with the pinnipeds being their closest living relatives. Although there are only eight living species of bear, they are widespread, appearing in a wide variety of habitats throughout the Northern...

. They gave the material to amateur naturalist Johann Carl Fuhlrott
Johann Carl Fuhlrott
Prof. Dr. Johann Carl Fuhlrott was born December 31, 1803 in Leinefelde, Germany, and died October 17, 1877 in Elberfeld, . He is famous for recognizing the significance of the bones of Neanderthal 1, a Neanderthal specimen discovered by German laborers who were digging for limestone in Neander...

, who turned the fossils over to anatomist Hermann Schaaffhausen
Hermann Schaaffhausen
Hermann Schaaffhausen studied medicine in University of Berlin and received his doctor degree in 1839, and became a Professor of Anatomy at the University of Bonn. Schaaffhausen is credited with identifying the remains of Neanderthal 1...

. The discovery was jointly announced in 1857.

The original Neanderthal discovery is now considered the beginning of paleoanthropology
Paleoanthropology
Paleoanthropology, which combines the disciplines of paleontology and physical anthropology, is the study of ancient humans as found in fossil hominid evidence such as petrifacted bones and footprints.-19th century:...

. These and other discoveries led to the idea these remains were from ancient Europeans who had played an important role in modern human origins
Human evolution
Human evolution refers to the evolutionary history of the genus Homo, including the emergence of Homo sapiens as a distinct species and as a unique category of hominids and mammals...

. The bones of over 400 Neanderthals have been found since.

Timeline





  • 1829: Neanderthal skulls were discovered in Engis
    Engis
    Engis is a Walloon municipality located in the Belgian province of Liège. On January 1, 2006 Engis had a total population of 5,686. The total area is 27.74 km² which gives a population density of 205 inhabitants per km²....

    , in present-day Belgium
    Belgium
    Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

    .
  • 1848: Neanderthal skull found in Forbes' Quarry, Gibraltar
    Gibraltar
    Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. A peninsula with an area of , it has a northern border with Andalusia, Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is the major landmark of the region...

    . Called "an ancient human" at the time.
  • 1856: Johann Karl Fuhlrott first recognized the fossil called "Neanderthal man", discovered in Neanderthal
    Neanderthal, Germany
    The Neandertal is a small valley of the river Düssel in the German Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia, located about east of Düsseldorf, the capital city of North Rhine-Westphalia. The valley belongs to the area of the towns Erkrath and Mettmann...

    , a valley near Mettmann
    Mettmann
    Mettmann is a Rhenish town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is the administrative centre of the district of Mettmann, Germany's most densely populated rural district...

     in what is now North Rhine-Westphalia
    North Rhine-Westphalia
    North Rhine-Westphalia is the most populous state of Germany, with four of the country's ten largest cities. The state was formed in 1946 as a merger of the northern Rhineland and Westphalia, both formerly part of Prussia. Its capital is Düsseldorf. The state is currently run by a coalition of the...

    , Germany.
  • 1880: The mandible of a Neanderthal child was found
    Šipka (cave)
    Šipka is a cave located near Štramberk, Moravian-Silesian Region, Czech Republic, 440 m above sea level. In 1880, a mandible of a Neanderthal child was found there. The age of the child has been estimated to be between 9 and 10 years....

     in a secure context and associated with cultural debris, including hearths, Mousterian
    Mousterian
    Mousterian is a name given by archaeologists to a style of predominantly flint tools associated primarily with Homo neanderthalensis and dating to the Middle Paleolithic, the middle part of the Old Stone Age.-Naming:...

     tools, and bones of extinct animals.
  • 1886: Two nearly perfect skeletons of a man and woman were found at Spy, Belgium
    Spy, Belgium
    Spy is a village in the municipality of Jemeppe-sur-Sambre near Namur, Belgium.Here in 1886, in Betche aux Roches cavern, Maximin Lohest and Marcel de Puydt found two nearly perfect Neanderthal skeletons at the depth of 16 ft., with numerous implements of the Mousterian type. Recently Yves Saquet...

     at the depth of 16 ft with numerous Mousterian
    Mousterian
    Mousterian is a name given by archaeologists to a style of predominantly flint tools associated primarily with Homo neanderthalensis and dating to the Middle Paleolithic, the middle part of the Old Stone Age.-Naming:...

    -type implements.
  • 1899: Hundreds of Neanderthal bones were described in stratigraphic position in association with cultural remains and extinct animal bones.
  • 1908: A nearly complete Neanderthal skeleton was discovered in association with Mousterian
    Mousterian
    Mousterian is a name given by archaeologists to a style of predominantly flint tools associated primarily with Homo neanderthalensis and dating to the Middle Paleolithic, the middle part of the Old Stone Age.-Naming:...

     tools and bones of extinct animals.
  • 1925: Francis Turville-Petre
    Francis Turville-Petre
    Francis Adrian Joseph Turville-Petre was a British archaeologist, famous for the discovery of the Neanderthal Galilee Man in 1925 and his work at Mount Carmel, in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine, now Israel. He was a close friend of Christopher Isherwood and W. H...

     finds the 'Galilee Man' or 'Galilee Skull' in the Zuttiyeh Cave in Wadi Amud in Palestine (now Israel).
  • 1953–1957: Ralph Solecki
    Ralph Solecki
    Ralph Stefan Solecki is an American archaeologist. He was born in New York City, New York in 1917. He is a former member of the faculty at Columbia University , and his best-known excavations were at the Neanderthal site at Shanidar Cave in Iraq. His publications include early works on aerial...

     uncovered nine Neanderthal skeletons in Shanidar
    Shanidar
    Shanidar Cave is an archaeological site in the Zagros Mountains in Erbil Governorate, Kurdistan Region, Iraq. The site is located in the valley of the Great Zab...

     Cave in northern Iraq.
  • 1975: Erik Trinkaus
    Erik Trinkaus
    Erik Trinkaus, PhD, is a prominent paleoanthropologist and expert on Neanderthal biology and human evolution. Trinkaus researches the evolution of the species Homo sapiens and recent human diversity, focusing on the paleoanthropology and emergence of late archaic and early modern humans, and the...

    's study of Neanderthal feet confirmed they walked like modern humans.
  • 1987: Thermoluminescence
    Thermoluminescence
    Thermoluminescence is a form of luminescence that is exhibited by certain crystalline materials, such as some minerals, when previously absorbed energy from electromagnetic radiation or other ionizing radiation is re-emitted as light upon heating of the material...

     results from Israeli fossils date Neanderthals at Kebara
    Kebara Cave
    Kebara Cave is an Israeli limestone cave locality of the Wadi Kebara, situated at 60 - 65 metres ASL on the western escarpment of the Carmel Range, some 10km north-east of Caesarea...

     to 60,000 BP and humans at Qafzeh to 90,000 BP. These dates were confirmed by electron spin resonance (ESR) dates for Qafzeh (90,000 BP) and Es Skhul
    Es Skhul
    Es Skhul is a cave site situated c. 20 kilometers south of the city of Haifa, Israel, and c. 3 kilometers from the Mediterranean Sea. The prehistoric site, was first excavated by Dorothy Garrod in the summer of 1928...

     (80,000 BP).
  • 1991: ESR dates showed the Tabun Neanderthal
    Tabun, Israel
    The Tabun Cave is an excavated cave located at Mount Carmel, Israel, which was occupied intermittently during the Lower and Middle Paleolithic ages . In the course of this period of time, deposits of sand, silt and clay of up to 25 meters accumulated in the cave...

     was contemporaneous with modern humans from Skhul and Qafzeh.
  • 1993: A 127.000 years old DNA is found on the child of Sclayn, found in Scladina (fr), Belgium.
  • 1997: Matthias Krings et al. are the first to amplify Neanderthal mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) using a specimen from Feldhofer grotto in the Neander valley.
  • 2000: Igor Ovchinnikov, Kirsten Liden, William Goodman et al. retrieved DNA from a Late Neanderthal (29,000 BP) infant from Mezmaiskaya Cave
    Mezmaiskaya cave
    Mezmaiskaya Cave is a cave at 44° 10' N 40° 00' E overlooking the right bank of the Sukhoi Kurdzhips in the southern Russian Republic of Adygea, located in the northwestern foothills of the Caucasus Mountains. Preliminary excavations recovered Mousterian artefacts, dated to about 35,000 B.P. and...

     in the Caucasus.
  • 2005: The Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
    Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
    The Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology is a research institute based in Leipzig, Germany, founded in 1997. It is part of the Max Planck Society network....

     launched a project to reconstruct the Neanderthal genome.
  • 2006: The Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology announced it planned to work with Connecticut-based 454 Life Sciences
    454 Life Sciences
    454 Life Sciences, is a biotechnology company based in Branford, Connecticut. It is a subsidiary of Roche, and specializes in high-throughput DNA sequencing.-History and Major Achievements:...

     to reconstruct the Neanderthal genome.
  • 2009: The Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology announced the "first draft" of a complete Neanderthal genome is completed.
  • 2010: Comparison of Neanderthal genome with modern humans from Africa and Eurasia shows that 1–4% of modern non-African human genome might come from the Neanderthals.
  • 2010: Discovery of Neanderthal tools far away from the influence of Homo sapiens indicate that the species might have been able to create and evolve tools on its own, and therefore be more intelligent than previously thought. Furthermore, it was proposed that the Neanderthals might be more closely related to Homo sapiens than previously thought and that may in fact be a sub species of it. Evidence has more recently emerged that these artefacts are likely of Homo sapiens origin.

Habitat and range




Early Neanderthals lived in the Last Glacial age for a span of about 100,000 years. Because of the damaging effects the glacial period had on the Neanderthal sites, not much is known about the early species. Countries where their remains are known include most of Europe south of the line of glaciation, roughly along the 50th parallel north
50th parallel north
The 50th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 50 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean....

, including most of Western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

, including the south coast of Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

, Central Europe
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

 and the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

, some sites in Ukraine and in western Russia and east of Europe in Siberia to the Altai Mountains and south through the Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

 to Indus River
Indus River
The Indus River is a major river which flows through Pakistan. It also has courses through China and India.Originating in the Tibetan plateau of western China in the vicinity of Lake Mansarovar in Tibet Autonomous Region, the river runs a course through the Ladakh district of Jammu and Kashmir and...

. It is estimated that the total Neanderthal population across this habitat range numbered at around 70,000 at its peak.

Neanderthal fossils have not been found to date in Africa, but there have been finds rather close to Africa, both at Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. A peninsula with an area of , it has a northern border with Andalusia, Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is the major landmark of the region...

 and in the Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

. At some Levantine sites, Neanderthal remains, in fact, date after the same sites were vacated by Homo sapiens. Mammal fossils of the same time period show cold-adapted animals were present alongside these Neanderthals in this region of the Eastern Mediterranean. This implies Neanderthals were better adapted biologically to cold weather than H. sapiens and at times displaced H. sapiens in parts of the Middle East when the climate got cold enough. Homo sapiens appears to have been the only human type in the Nile River Valley during these periods, and Neanderthals are not known to have ever lived south-west of modern Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

. When further climate change caused warmer temperatures, the Neanderthal range likewise retreated to the north along with the cold-adapted species of mammals. Apparently these weather-induced population shifts took place before "modern" people secured competitive advantages over the Neanderthal, as these shifts in range took place well over ten thousand years before "moderns" totally replaced the Neanderthal, despite the recent evidence of some successful interbreeding.

There were separate developments in the human line, in other regions such as Southern Africa, that somewhat resembled the European and Western/Central Asian Neanderthals, but these people were not actually Neanderthals. One such example is Rhodesian Man (Homo rhodesiensis
Homo rhodesiensis
Homo rhodesiensis is a hominin species described from the fossil Kabwe skull. Other morphologically-comparable remains have been found from the same, or earlier, time period in southern Africa , East Africa and North Africa...

) who existed long before any classic European Neanderthals, but had a more modern set of teeth, and arguably some H. rhodesiensis populations were on the road to modern Homo sapiens sapiens.

To date, no intimate connection has been found between these similar people and the Western/Central Eurasian Neanderthals, at least during the same time as classic Eurasian Neanderthals, and H. rhodesiensis seems to have evolved separately and earlier than classic Neanderthals in a case of convergent evolution
Convergent evolution
Convergent evolution describes the acquisition of the same biological trait in unrelated lineages.The wing is a classic example of convergent evolution in action. Although their last common ancestor did not have wings, both birds and bats do, and are capable of powered flight. The wings are...

.

It appears incorrect, based on present research and known fossil finds, to refer to any fossil outside Europe or Western and Central Asia as a true Neanderthal. True Neanderthals had a known range that possibly extended as far east as the Altai Mountains, but not farther to the east or south, and apparently not into Africa. At any rate, in Africa the land immediately south of the Neanderthal range was possessed by "modern" H. sap., since at least 160,000 years before the present.

Classic Neanderthal fossils have been found over a large area, from northern Germany to Israel and Mediterranean countries like Spain and Italy in the south and from England and Portugal in the west to Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

 in the east. This area probably was not occupied all at the same time. The northern border of their range, in particular, would have contracted frequently with the onset of cold periods. On the other hand, the northern border of their range as represented by fossils may not be the real northern border of the area they occupied, since Middle Palaeolithic-looking artifacts have been found even further north, up to 60° N, on the Russian plain. Recent evidence has extended the Neanderthal range by about 1250 miles (2,011.7 km) east into southern Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

's Altai Mountains.

Anatomy



Neanderthal anatomy
Neanderthal anatomy
Neanderthal anatomy was more robust than modern humans. Neanderthals were generally only shorter than 21st century humans, contrary to a common view of them as "very short" or "just over 5 feet". Based on 45 long bones from 14 males and 7 females, Neanderthal males averaged and females tall...

 was more robust than anatomically modern humans
Anatomically modern humans
The term anatomically modern humans in paleoanthropology refers to early individuals of Homo sapiens with an appearance consistent with the range of phenotypes in modern humans....

 and they had less neotenized
Neoteny
Neoteny , also called juvenilization , is one of the two ways by which paedomorphism can arise. Paedomorphism is the retention by adults of traits previously seen only in juveniles, and is a subject studied in the field of developmental biology. In neoteny, the physiological development of an...

 skulls.

Behavior



Neanderthals were almost exclusively carnivorous and apex predator
Apex predator
Apex predators are predators that have no predators of their own, residing at the top of their food chain. Zoologists define predation as the killing and consumption of another organism...

s; however, new studies do indicate that they had cooked vegetables in their diet. They made advanced tools, had a language (the nature of which is debated) and lived in complex social groups.

Genome



Early investigations concentrated on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which, owing to strictly matrilineal inheritance and subsequent vulnerability to genetic drift
Genetic drift
Genetic drift or allelic drift is the change in the frequency of a gene variant in a population due to random sampling.The alleles in the offspring are a sample of those in the parents, and chance has a role in determining whether a given individual survives and reproduces...

, is of limited value in evaluating the possibility of interbreeding of Neanderthals with Cro-Magnon
Cro-Magnon
The Cro-Magnon were the first early modern humans of the European Upper Paleolithic. The earliest known remains of Cro-Magnon-like humans are radiometrically dated to 35,000 years before present....

 people.

In 1997, geneticists were able to extract a short sequence of DNA from Neanderthal bones from 30,000 years ago.

In July 2006, the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
The Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology is a research institute based in Leipzig, Germany, founded in 1997. It is part of the Max Planck Society network....

 and 454 Life Sciences
454 Life Sciences
454 Life Sciences, is a biotechnology company based in Branford, Connecticut. It is a subsidiary of Roche, and specializes in high-throughput DNA sequencing.-History and Major Achievements:...

 announced that they would sequence
Sequencing
In genetics and biochemistry, sequencing means to determine the primary structure of an unbranched biopolymer...

 the Neanderthal genome over the next two years. This genome
Genome
In modern molecular biology and genetics, the genome is the entirety of an organism's hereditary information. It is encoded either in DNA or, for many types of virus, in RNA. The genome includes both the genes and the non-coding sequences of the DNA/RNA....

 is expected to be roughly the size of the human genome
Human genome
The human genome is the genome of Homo sapiens, which is stored on 23 chromosome pairs plus the small mitochondrial DNA. 22 of the 23 chromosomes are autosomal chromosome pairs, while the remaining pair is sex-determining...

, three-billion base pairs, and share most of its genes
Gênes
Gênes is the name of a département of the First French Empire in present Italy, named after the city of Genoa. It was formed in 1805, when Napoleon Bonaparte occupied the Republic of Genoa. Its capital was Genoa, and it was divided in the arrondissements of Genoa, Bobbio, Novi Ligure, Tortona and...

. It was hoped the comparison would expand understanding of Neanderthals, as well as the evolution of humans and human brains.

Svante Pääbo
Svante Pääbo
Svante Pääbo is a Swedish biologist specializing in evolutionary genetics. He was born in 1955 in Stockholm to Sune Bergström, who shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Bengt I. Samuelsson and John R. Vane in 1982, and his mother, Estonian Karin Pääbo.He earned his PhD from Uppsala...

 has tested more than 70 Neanderthal specimens. Preliminary DNA sequencing from a 38,000-year-old bone fragment of a femur found at Vindija Cave
Vindija Cave
Vindija is a cave near the city of Varaždin, Croatia. It contains one of the best preserved remains of the Neanderthals in the world, found in 1974. It is estimated that the Neanderthal man lived there about 30,000 years ago....

, Croatia, in 1980 showed Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens share about 99.5% of their DNA. From mtDNA analysis estimates, the two species shared a common ancestor about 500,000 years ago. An article appearing in the journal Nature
Nature (journal)
Nature, first published on 4 November 1869, is ranked the world's most cited interdisciplinary scientific journal by the Science Edition of the 2010 Journal Citation Reports...

 has calculated the species diverged about 516,000 years ago, whereas fossil records show a time of about 400,000 years ago. A 2007 study pushes the point of divergence back to around 800,000 years ago.

Edward Rubin
Edward Rubin
Edward M. "Eddy" Rubin is an internationally known geneticist and medical researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California and has served as the director of the Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute since 2002...

 of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory , is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory conducting unclassified scientific research. It is located on the grounds of the University of California, Berkeley, in the Berkeley Hills above the central campus...

 in Berkeley, California
Berkeley, California
Berkeley is a city on the east shore of the San Francisco Bay in Northern California, United States. Its neighbors to the south are the cities of Oakland and Emeryville. To the north is the city of Albany and the unincorporated community of Kensington...

, states recent genome testing of Neanderthals suggests human and Neanderthal DNA are some 99.5% to nearly 99.9% identical.

On 16 November 2006, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory , is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory conducting unclassified scientific research. It is located on the grounds of the University of California, Berkeley, in the Berkeley Hills above the central campus...

 issued a press release suggesting Neanderthals and ancient humans probably did not interbreed. Edward M. Rubin, director of the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Joint Genome Institute (JGI), sequenced a fraction (0.00002) of genomic nuclear DNA
Nuclear DNA
Nuclear DNA, nuclear deoxyribonucleic acid , is DNA contained within a nucleus of eukaryotic organisms. In mammals and vertebrates, nuclear DNA encodes more of the genome than the mitochondrial DNA and is composed of information inherited from two parents, one male, and one female, rather than...

 (nDNA) from a 38,000-year-old Vindia Neanderthal femur. They calculated the common ancestor to be about 353,000 years ago, and a complete separation of the ancestors of the species about 188,000 years ago. Their results show the genomes of modern humans and Neanderthals are at least 99.5% identical, but despite this genetic similarity, and despite the two species having coexisted in the same geographic region for thousands of years, Rubin and his team did not find any evidence of any significant crossbreeding between the two. Rubin said, "While unable to definitively conclude that interbreeding between the two species of humans did not occur, analysis of the nuclear DNA from the Neanderthal suggests the low likelihood of it having occurred at any appreciable level."

In 2008 Richard E. Green et al. from Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany published the full sequence of Neanderthal mitochondrial DNA
Mitochondrial DNA
Mitochondrial DNA is the DNA located in organelles called mitochondria, structures within eukaryotic cells that convert the chemical energy from food into a form that cells can use, adenosine triphosphate...

 (mtDNA) and suggested "Neanderthals had a long-term effective population size smaller than that of modern humans." Writing in Nature about Green et al.'s findings, James Morgan asserted the mtDNA sequence contained clues that Neanderthals lived in "small and isolated populations, and probably did not interbreed with their human neighbours."

In the same publication, it was disclosed by Svante Pääbo that in the previous work at the Max Planck Institute that "Contamination was indeed an issue," and they eventually realized that 11% of their sample was modern human DNA. Since then, more of the preparation work has been done in clean areas and 4-base pair 'tags' have been added to the DNA as soon as it is extracted so the Neanderthal DNA can be identified.

With 3 billion nucleotides sequenced, analysis of about 1/3 showed no sign of admixture between modern humans and Neanderthals, according to Pääbo. This concurred with the work of Noonan from two years earlier. The variant of microcephalin
Microcephalin
Microcephalin is one of six genes causing primary microcephaly when non-functional mutations exist in the homozygous state...

 common outside Africa, which was suggested to be of Neanderthal origin and responsible for rapid brain growth in humans, was not found in Neanderthals. Nor was the MAPT variant, a very old variant found primarily in Europeans.

However, an analysis of a first draft of the Neanderthal genome by the same team released in May 2010 indicates interbreeding may have occurred.
"Those of us who live outside Africa carry a little Neanderthal DNA in us," said Pääbo, who led the study. "The proportion of Neanderthal-inherited genetic material is about 1 to 4 percent. It is a small but very real proportion of ancestry in non-Africans today," says Dr. David Reich of Harvard Medical School in Boston, who worked on the study. This research compared the genome of the Neanderthals to five modern humans from China, France, sub-Saharan Africa, and Papua New Guinea. The finding is that about 1 to 4 percent of the genes of the non-Africans came from Neanderthals, compared to the baseline defined by the two Africans. This indicates a gene flow from Neanderthals to modern humans, i.e., interbreeding between the two populations. Since the three non-African genomes show a similar proportion of Neanderthal sequences, the interbreeding must have occurred early in the migration of modern humans out of Africa, perhaps in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

. No evidence for gene flow in the direction from modern humans to Neanderthals was found. The latter result would not be unexpected if contact occurred between a small colonizing population of modern humans and a much larger resident population of Neanderthals. A very limited amount of interbreeding could explain the findings, if it occurred early enough in the colonization process.

While interbreeding is viewed as the most parsimonious interpretation of the genetic discoveries, the authors point out they cannot conclusively rule out an alternative scenario, in which the source population of non-African modern humans was already more closely related to Neanderthals than other Africans were, due to ancient genetic divisions within Africa.

Among the genes shown to differ between present-day humans and Neanderthals were RPTN
RPTN
RPTN is a gene that encodes repetin.Repetin is an extracellular epidermal matrix protein.It is one of the genes that differ between present-day humans and neandertals....

, SPAG17, CAN15, TTF1 and PCD16.
"Caucasoid " sample size
Sample size
Sample size determination is the act of choosing the number of observations to include in a statistical sample. The sample size is an important feature of any empirical study in which the goal is to make inferences about a population from a sample...

 = 300
"Mongoloid
Mongoloid race
Mongoloid is a term sometimes used by forensic anthropologists and physical anthropologists to refer to populations that share certain phenotypic traits such as epicanthic fold and shovel-shaped incisors and other physical traits common in East Asia, the Americas and the Arctic...

 " sample size
Sample size
Sample size determination is the act of choosing the number of observations to include in a statistical sample. The sample size is an important feature of any empirical study in which the goal is to make inferences about a population from a sample...

 = 300
"African " sample size
Sample size
Sample size determination is the act of choosing the number of observations to include in a statistical sample. The sample size is an important feature of any empirical study in which the goal is to make inferences about a population from a sample...

 = 300
compared to the two Neanderthals pairwise
Pairwise
Pairwise may refer to:* Pairwise deletion* Pairwise disjoint* Pairwise independence of random variables* PAIRwise Paper Authorship Integrity Research – an open-source software to detect plagiarism...

 difference
within race pairwise
Pairwise
Pairwise may refer to:* Pairwise deletion* Pairwise disjoint* Pairwise independence of random variables* PAIRwise Paper Authorship Integrity Research – an open-source software to detect plagiarism...

 difference
compared to the two Neanderthals pairwise
Pairwise
Pairwise may refer to:* Pairwise deletion* Pairwise disjoint* Pairwise independence of random variables* PAIRwise Paper Authorship Integrity Research – an open-source software to detect plagiarism...

 difference
within race pairwise
Pairwise
Pairwise may refer to:* Pairwise deletion* Pairwise disjoint* Pairwise independence of random variables* PAIRwise Paper Authorship Integrity Research – an open-source software to detect plagiarism...

 difference
compared to the two Neanderthals pairwise
Pairwise
Pairwise may refer to:* Pairwise deletion* Pairwise disjoint* Pairwise independence of random variables* PAIRwise Paper Authorship Integrity Research – an open-source software to detect plagiarism...

 difference
within race pairwise
Pairwise
Pairwise may refer to:* Pairwise deletion* Pairwise disjoint* Pairwise independence of random variables* PAIRwise Paper Authorship Integrity Research – an open-source software to detect plagiarism...

 difference
25.45 ±
Plus-minus sign
The plus-minus sign is a mathematical symbol commonly used either*to indicate the precision of an approximation, or*to indicate a value that can be of either sign....

 3.27
5.28 ±
Plus-minus sign
The plus-minus sign is a mathematical symbol commonly used either*to indicate the precision of an approximation, or*to indicate a value that can be of either sign....

 2.24
23.27 ±
Plus-minus sign
The plus-minus sign is a mathematical symbol commonly used either*to indicate the precision of an approximation, or*to indicate a value that can be of either sign....

 4.06
6.27 ±
Plus-minus sign
The plus-minus sign is a mathematical symbol commonly used either*to indicate the precision of an approximation, or*to indicate a value that can be of either sign....

 2.29
23.09 ±
Plus-minus sign
The plus-minus sign is a mathematical symbol commonly used either*to indicate the precision of an approximation, or*to indicate a value that can be of either sign....

 2.86
8.36 ±
Plus-minus sign
The plus-minus sign is a mathematical symbol commonly used either*to indicate the precision of an approximation, or*to indicate a value that can be of either sign....

 3.2
This chart shows the mtDNA hypervariable region (I and II (HVRI & HVRII)) difference within races and between the races and the Mezmaiskaya cave
Mezmaiskaya cave
Mezmaiskaya Cave is a cave at 44° 10' N 40° 00' E overlooking the right bank of the Sukhoi Kurdzhips in the southern Russian Republic of Adygea, located in the northwestern foothills of the Caucasus Mountains. Preliminary excavations recovered Mousterian artefacts, dated to about 35,000 B.P. and...

 and Kleine Feldhofer Grotte
Kleine Feldhofer Grotte
Kleine Feldhofer Grotte was a cave, a paleoanthropologic site in the Neandertal Valley in northern Germany. In 1856, 60 Neanderthal specimens were unearthed from the cave...

 Neanderthal samples by Igor V. Ovchinnikov et al. of the Archaeological Research Laboratory, Stockholm University
Stockholm University
Stockholm University is a state university in Stockholm, Sweden. It has over 28,000 students at four faculties, making it one of the largest universities in Scandinavia. The institution is also frequently regarded as one of the top 100 universities in the world...

, Stockholm
Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

. Ovhchinnikov et al. said the data shows "equal distances between the Neanderthal sequences and all modern sequences" and this is consistent with the Out of Africa
Out of Africa
Out of Africa is a 1985 romantic drama film directed and produced by Sydney Pollack, and starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. The film is based loosely on the autobiographical book Out of Africa written by Isak Dinesen , which was published in 1937, with additional material from Dinesen's book...

 hypothesis and inconsistent with the Multiregional
Multiregional origin of modern humans
The multiregional hypothesis is a scientific model that provides an explanation for the pattern of human evolution. The hypothesis holds that humans first arose near the beginning of the Pleistocene two million years ago and subsequent human evolution has been within a single, continuous human...

 hypothesis.

Extinction hypotheses


The Neanderthals disappear from the fossil record after about 25,000 years ago.
The last traces of Mousterian culture (without human specimens) have been found in Gorham's Cave
Gorham's Cave
Gorham's Cave is a natural sea cave in Gibraltar, considered to be one of the last known habitations of the Neanderthals. It is located on the south east face of the Rock of Gibraltar...

 on the remote south-facing coast of Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. A peninsula with an area of , it has a northern border with Andalusia, Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is the major landmark of the region...

, dated 30,000 to 24,500 years ago.
Possible scenarios are:
  1. Neanderthals were a separate species from modern humans, and became extinct (due to climate change or interaction with humans) and were replaced by H. sapiens moving into its habitat beginning around 80,000 years ago. Competition from H. sapiens probably contributed to Neanderthal extinction. Jared Diamond
    Jared Diamond
    Jared Mason Diamond is an American scientist and author whose work draws from a variety of fields. He is currently Professor of Geography and Physiology at UCLA...

     has suggested a scenario of violent conflict and displacement.
  2. Neanderthals were a contemporary subspecies that bred with Homo sapiens and disappeared through absorption (interbreeding theory).
  3. A Campanian ignimbrite
    Ignimbrite
    An ignimbrite is the deposit of a pyroclastic density current, or pyroclastic flow, a hot suspension of particles and gases that flows rapidly from a volcano, driven by a greater density than the surrounding atmosphere....

     volcanic super-eruption
    Supervolcano
    A supervolcano is a volcano capable of producing a volcanic eruption with an ejecta volume greater than 1,000 cubic kilometers . This is thousands of times larger than most historic volcanic eruptions. Supervolcanoes can occur when magma in the Earth rises into the crust from a hotspot but is...

     around 40,000 years ago, followed by a second one a few thousand years later, has been hypothesised as having contributed to the demise of the Neanderthal, based on evidence from Mezmaiskaya cave
    Mezmaiskaya cave
    Mezmaiskaya Cave is a cave at 44° 10' N 40° 00' E overlooking the right bank of the Sukhoi Kurdzhips in the southern Russian Republic of Adygea, located in the northwestern foothills of the Caucasus Mountains. Preliminary excavations recovered Mousterian artefacts, dated to about 35,000 B.P. and...

     in the Caucasus Mountains
    Caucasus Mountains
    The Caucasus Mountains is a mountain system in Eurasia between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea in the Caucasus region .The Caucasus Mountains includes:* the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range and* the Lesser Caucasus Mountains....

     of southern Russia Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis of a specimen from Mezmaiskaya Cave is radiocarbon dated
    Radiocarbon dating
    Radiocarbon dating is a radiometric dating method that uses the naturally occurring radioisotope carbon-14 to estimate the age of carbon-bearing materials up to about 58,000 to 62,000 years. Raw, i.e. uncalibrated, radiocarbon ages are usually reported in radiocarbon years "Before Present" ,...

     to be about 29,000 years BP
    Before Present
    Before Present years is a time scale used in archaeology, geology, and other scientific disciplines to specify when events in the past occurred. Because the "present" time changes, standard practice is to use AD 1950 as the origin of the age scale, reflecting the fact that radiocarbon...

     and therefore from one of the latest living Neanderthal individuals. The sequence shows 3.48% divergence from the Feldhofer Neanderthal4. Phylogenetic analysis places the two Neanderthals from the Caucasus and western Germany together in a clade that is distinct from modern humans, suggesting that their mtDNA types have not contributed to the modern human mtDNA pool.

As Paul Jordan notes: "A natural sympathy for the underdog and the disadvantaged lends a sad poignancy to the fate of the Neanderthal folk, however it came about." Jordan, though, does say that there was perhaps interbreeding to some extent, but that populations that remained totally Neanderthal were likely out-competed and marginalized to extinction by the Aurignacian
Aurignacian
The Aurignacian culture is an archaeological culture of the Upper Palaeolithic, located in Europe and southwest Asia. It lasted broadly within the period from ca. 45,000 to 35,000 years ago in terms of conventional radiocarbon dating, or between ca. 47,000 and 41,000 years ago in terms of the most...

s.

Climate change


About 55,000 years ago, the weather began to fluctuate wildly from extreme cold conditions to mild cold and back in a matter of a few decades. Neanderthal bodies were well suited for survival in a cold climate—their barrel chests and stocky limbs stored body heat better than the Cro-Magnons. However, the rapid fluctuations of weather caused ecological changes to which the Neanderthals could not adapt. The weather changes were so rapid that within a lifetime, plants and animals someone grew up with would be replaced by completely different plants and animals. Neanderthal's ambush techniques would have failed as grasslands replaced trees. A large number of Neanderthals would have died during these fluctuations, which peaked about 30,000 years ago.

Studies on Neanderthal body structures have shown that they needed more energy to survive than any other species. Their energy needs were up to 100-350 calories more per day comparing to projected anatomically modern human males weighing 68.5 kg and females 59.2 kg. When food became scarce, this difference may have played a major role in the Neanderthals' extinction.

Coexistence with H. sapiens


There is no longer certainty regarding the identity of the humans who produced the Aurignacian
Aurignacian
The Aurignacian culture is an archaeological culture of the Upper Palaeolithic, located in Europe and southwest Asia. It lasted broadly within the period from ca. 45,000 to 35,000 years ago in terms of conventional radiocarbon dating, or between ca. 47,000 and 41,000 years ago in terms of the most...

 culture, even though the presumed westward spread of anatomically modern humans (AMHs) across Europe is still based on the controversial first dates of the Aurignacian. Currently, the oldest European anatomically modern Homo sapiens is represented by a robust modern-human mandible discovered at Peştera cu Oase
Pestera cu Oase
Peștera cu Oase is a system of 12 karstic galleries and chambers located N. 45° 01’; E. 21° 50’ in southwestern Romania, where the oldest early modern human remains in Europe have been discovered.-Paleoanthropological on-site findings:...

 (southwest Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

), dated to years ago. Human skeletal remains from the German site of Vogelherd, so far regarded as the best association between anatomically modern Homo sapiens and Aurignacian culture, were revealed to represent intrusive Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 burials into the Aurignacian levels and subsequently all the key Vogelherd fossils are now dated to years ago instead. As for now, the expansion of the first anatomically modern humans into Europe cannot be located by diagnostic and well-dated AMH fossils "west of the Iron Gates of the Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

" before years ago.

Consequently, the exact nature of biological and cultural interaction between Neanderthals and other human groups between and years ago is currently hotly contested. A new proposal strives to resolve the issue by proposing the Gravettians rather than the Aurignacians as the anatomically modern humans who contributed to the Eurasian genetic pool after years ago. Correspondingly, the human skull fragment found at the Elbe River bank at Hahnöfersand near Hamburg was once radiocarbon-dated to 36,000 years ago and seen as possible evidence for the intermixing of Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans. It is now dated to the more recent Mesolithic
Mesolithic
The Mesolithic is an archaeological concept used to refer to certain groups of archaeological cultures defined as falling between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic....

.

Interbreeding hypotheses


An alternative to extinction is that Neanderthals were absorbed into the Cro-Magnon
Cro-Magnon
The Cro-Magnon were the first early modern humans of the European Upper Paleolithic. The earliest known remains of Cro-Magnon-like humans are radiometrically dated to 35,000 years before present....

 population by interbreeding. This would be counter to strict versions of the Recent African Origin, since it would imply that at least part of the genome of Europeans would descend from Neanderthals.

The most vocal proponent of the hybridization hypothesis is Erik Trinkaus
Erik Trinkaus
Erik Trinkaus, PhD, is a prominent paleoanthropologist and expert on Neanderthal biology and human evolution. Trinkaus researches the evolution of the species Homo sapiens and recent human diversity, focusing on the paleoanthropology and emergence of late archaic and early modern humans, and the...

 of Washington University. Trinkaus claims various fossils as hybrid individuals, including the "child of Lagar Velho", a skeleton found at Lagar Velho in Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 dated to about 24,000 years ago.
In a 2006 publication co-authored by Trinkaus, the fossils found in 1952 in the cave of Peștera Muierii, Romania, are likewise claimed as hybrids.

Genetic research has confirmed that some interbreeding has taken place. The genomes of non-Africans include portions that are of Neanderthal origin, due to interbreeding between Neanderthals and the ancestors of Eurasians in Northern Africa or the Middle East prior to their spread. Rather than absorption of the Neanderthal population, this gene flow appears to have been of limited duration and limited extent. An estimated 1 to 4 percent of the DNA in Europeans and Asians (i.e. French, Chinese and Papua probands) is non-modern, and shared with ancient Neanderthal DNA rather than with Sub-Saharan Africans (i.e. Yoruba and San probands).

Specimens


  • Neanderthal 1
    Neanderthal 1
    Feldhofer 1, Neanderthal 1 is the common name for the initial 40,000-year-old Neanderthal specimen found in Kleine Feldhofer Grotte in August 1856. It represents the beginning of paleoanthropology as a scientific discipline....

    : Initial Neanderthal specimen found during an archaeological dig in August 1856. Discovered in a limestone quarry at the Feldhofer grotto in Neanderthal, Germany. The find consisted of a skull cap, two femora, the three right arm bones, two of the left arm bones, ilium, and fragments of a scapula and ribs.
  • La Chapelle-aux-Saints 1
    La Chapelle-aux-Saints 1
    La Chapelle-aux-Saints 1 is a partial skeleton of the species Homo neanderthalensis. It was discovered in La Chapelle-aux-Saints, France by A. and J. Bouyssonie, and L. Bardon in 1908...

    : Called the Old Man, a fossilized skull discovered in La Chapelle-aux-Saints
    La Chapelle-aux-Saints
    La Chapelle-aux-Saints is a commune in the Corrèze department in central France.-First discovery of a Neanderthal tomb:The La Chapelle-aux-Saints cave, bordering the Sourdoire valley, revealed many archeological artifacts belonging to the late Mousterian culture, including the first ever...

    , France, by A. and J. Bouyssonie, and L. Bardon in 1908. Characteristics include a low vaulted cranium and large browridge typical of Neanderthals. Estimated to be about 60,000 years old, the specimen was severely arthritic and had lost all his teeth, with evidence of healing. For him to have lived on would have required that someone process his food for him, one of the earliest examples of Neanderthal altruism (similar to Shanidar I.)
  • La Ferrassie 1
    La Ferrassie 1
    La Ferrassie 1 is a fossilized skull of the species Homo neanderthalensis. It was discovered in La Ferrassie, France by R. Capitan in 1909.It is estimated to be 70,000 years old....

    : A fossilized skull discovered in La Ferrassie, France, by R. Capitan in 1909. It is estimated to be 70,000 years old. Its characteristics include a large occipital bun, low-vaulted cranium and heavily worn teeth.
  • Le Moustier
    Le Moustier
    Le Moustier is an archeological site consisting of two rock shelters in Peyzac-le-Moustier, Dordogne, France. It is known for a fossilized skull of the species Homo neanderthalensis that was discovered in 1909...

    : A fossilized skull, discovered in 1909, at the archaeological site in Peyzac-le-Moustier, Dordogne, France. The Mousterian tool culture is named after Le Moustier. The skull, estimated to be less than 45,000 years old, includes a large nasal cavity and a somewhat less developed brow ridge and occipital bun as might be expected in a juvenile.

  • Shanidar 1: Found in the Zagros Mountains in northern Iraq; a total of nine skeletons found believed to have lived in the Middle Paleolithic
    Middle Paleolithic
    The Middle Paleolithic is the second subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age as it is understood in Europe, Africa and Asia. The term Middle Stone Age is used as an equivalent or a synonym for the Middle Paleolithic in African archeology. The Middle Paleolithic and the Middle Stone Age...

    . One of the nine remains was missing part of its right arm; theorized to have been broken off or amputated
    Amputation
    Amputation is the removal of a body extremity by trauma, prolonged constriction, or surgery. As a surgical measure, it is used to control pain or a disease process in the affected limb, such as malignancy or gangrene. In some cases, it is carried out on individuals as a preventative surgery for...

    . The find is also significant because it shows that stone tools were present among this tribe's culture. One was buried with flowers, showing that some type of burial ceremony may have occurred.

Chronology


Bones with Neanderthal traits in chronological
Chronology
Chronology is the science of arranging events in their order of occurrence in time, such as the use of a timeline or sequence of events. It is also "the determination of the actual temporal sequence of past events".Chronology is part of periodization...

 order. (Sorted by time)

Mixed with H. heidelbergensis traits

  • > 350 ka: Sima de los Huesos c. 500:350 ka ago
  • 350–200 ka: Pontnewydd 225 ka ago.
  • 200–135 ka: Atapuerca, Vértesszöllos, Ehringsdorf, Casal de'Pazzi, Biache, La Chaise, Montmaurin, Prince, Lazaret, Fontéchevade

Typical H. neanderthalensis traits

  • 135–45 ka: Krapina
    Krapina
    Krapina is a town in northern Croatia and the administrative centre of Krapina-Zagorje County with a population of 4,482 and a total municipality population of 12,479...

    , Saccopastore, Malarnaud, Altamura, Gánovce, Denisova
    Denisova Cave
    Denisova Cave is a cave in the Bashelaksky Range of the Altai mountains, Siberia, Russia. The cave is of paleoarchaeological and paleontological interest. Bone fragments of the Denisova hominin, sometime called the "X-woman" originate from the cave, including artifacts dated to ~40,000 Before...

    , Okladnikov Altai, Pech de l'Azé, Tabun 120 ka – 100±5 ka, Qafzeh9 100, Shanidar 1 to 9
    Shanidar
    Shanidar Cave is an archaeological site in the Zagros Mountains in Erbil Governorate, Kurdistan Region, Iraq. The site is located in the valley of the Great Zab...

     80–60 ka, La Ferrassie 1
    La Ferrassie 1
    La Ferrassie 1 is a fossilized skull of the species Homo neanderthalensis. It was discovered in La Ferrassie, France by R. Capitan in 1909.It is estimated to be 70,000 years old....

     70 ka, Kebara
    Kebara Cave
    Kebara Cave is an Israeli limestone cave locality of the Wadi Kebara, situated at 60 - 65 metres ASL on the western escarpment of the Carmel Range, some 10km north-east of Caesarea...

     60 ka, Régourdou, Mt. Circeo, Combe Grenal, Erd
    Érd
    Érd is city and urban county in Pest county, Budapest metropolitan area, Hungary.-History:The area has been inhabited since ancient times. Archaeological findings indicate that prehistoric men lived here 50,000 years ago....

     50 ka, La Chapelle-aux Saints 1 60 ka, Amud I 53±8 ka, Teshik-Tash
    Teshik-Tash
    Teshik-Tash is an archaeological site in Uzbekistan in central Asia. The site includes the remains of a Neanderthal child in association with Ibex horns, which initially were interpreted as remains of a funerary ritual...

    .
  • 45–35 ka: Le Moustier
    Le Moustier
    Le Moustier is an archeological site consisting of two rock shelters in Peyzac-le-Moustier, Dordogne, France. It is known for a fossilized skull of the species Homo neanderthalensis that was discovered in 1909...

     45 ka, Feldhofer
    Neanderthal 1
    Feldhofer 1, Neanderthal 1 is the common name for the initial 40,000-year-old Neanderthal specimen found in Kleine Feldhofer Grotte in August 1856. It represents the beginning of paleoanthropology as a scientific discipline....

     42 ka, La Quina, l'Horus, Hortus, Kulna, Šipka, Saint Césaire, Bacho Kiro, El Castillo, Bñnolas, Arcy-sur-Cure
    Arcy-sur-Cure
    Arcy-sur-Cure is a commune in the Yonne department in Burgundy in north-central France.The caves of Arcy-sur-Cure just south of the commune, hold the second-oldest cave paintings known, after those of Chauvet Cave. Archeological remains at the Grotte de Renne were taken to provide evidence that...

    .
  • < 35 ka: Chătelperron, Figueria Brava, Zafaraya 30 ka, Vogelherd 3?, Vindija 32,400 ± 800 14C B.P. (Vi-208 31,390 ± 220, Vi-207 32,400 ± 1,800 14C B.P.), Velika Pećina,

Mixed with AMH traits

  • < 35 Pestera cu Oase
    Pestera cu Oase
    Peștera cu Oase is a system of 12 karstic galleries and chambers located N. 45° 01’; E. 21° 50’ in southwestern Romania, where the oldest early modern human remains in Europe have been discovered.-Paleoanthropological on-site findings:...

     35 ka, Mladeč
    Mladec
    Mladeč is a village and municipality in Olomouc District in the Olomouc Region of the Czech Republic. The municipality covers an area of , and has a population of 761...

     31 ka, Pestera Muierii 30 ka (n/s), Lagar Velho 24.5 ka.

Popular culture


Neanderthals often appear in popular culture, often in unflattering and inaccurate light, much in the same way as "dinosaur
Dinosaur
Dinosaurs are a diverse group of animals of the clade and superorder Dinosauria. They were the dominant terrestrial vertebrates for over 160 million years, from the late Triassic period until the end of the Cretaceous , when the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event led to the extinction of...

" is also used.

See also

  • Abrigo do Lagar Velho
    Abrigo do Lagar Velho
    Lagar Velho is rock-shelter in the Lapedo valley, a limestone canyon 13 km from the centre of Leiria, in the municipality of Leiria, in central Portugal...

     — More about "the Lapedo child"
  • Almas: wild man of Mongolia
    Almas (cryptozoology)
    The Almas, Mongolian for "wild man" , is a purported hominid cryptozoological species reputed to inhabit the Caucasus and Pamir Mountains of central Asia, and the Altai Mountains of southern Mongolia. The creature is not currently recognized or cataloged by science...

  • Altamura Man
    Altamura Man
    Altamura Man are the 400,000 year old calcified remains of hominid species believed to be Homo heidelbergensis. Altamura Man was discovered in a limestone cave, called grotta di Lamalunga, near the city of Altamura, Italy.-Discovery:...

  • Denisova hominin
    Denisova hominin
    Denisova hominins , or Denisovans, are Paleolithic-Era members of the genus Homo that may belong to a previously unknown species. In , scientists announced the discovery of a finger bone fragment of a juvenile female that lived about 41,000 years ago, found in Denisova Cave in Altai Krai, Russia, a...

     a similar species that may have interbred with neandertals.
  • Biological anthropology
    Biological anthropology
    Biological anthropology is that branch of anthropology that studies the physical development of the human species. It plays an important part in paleoanthropology and in forensic anthropology...

  • Caveman
    Caveman
    A caveman or troglodyte is a stock character based upon widespread concepts of the way in which early prehistoric humans may have looked and behaved...

  • Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
    Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
    The Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology is a research institute based in Leipzig, Germany, founded in 1997. It is part of the Max Planck Society network....

  • Neanderthal Museum
    Neanderthal Museum
    Neanderthal Museum is a museum in Mettmann, Germany. Located at the site of the first Neanderthal man discovery in the Neandertal, it features an exhibit centered on human evolution. The museum was constructed in 1996 by the architect Arno Brandlhuber and draws about 170 000 visitors per year...

  • Pleistocene megafauna
    Pleistocene megafauna
    Pleistocene megafauna is the set of species of large animals — mammals, birds and reptiles — that lived on Earth during the Pleistocene epoch and became extinct in a Quaternary extinction event. These species appear to have died off as humans expanded out of Africa and southern Asia,...



Lists:

External links