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Homo neanderthalensis

Most Famous Specimens:
Feldhofer Man (Germany, the original find), La Chapelle aux Saints, Le Moustier, La Ferrassie (all in France), Monte Circeo (Italy), Kebara (Israel).
Location:
North Africa and especially Europe.
Time Range:
200 - 30 tya.
Size:
Roughly similar to modern humans, although generally shorter and much more robust.
Cranial Capacity:
1200-1800 cc (mean about 1400 cc, slightly greater than modern humans).
Cranial Features:
Occipital (lower back) area of skull more rounded than in H. erectus. Skull shape long and low, with sloped-back forehead and often a distinct "bump" on the very back. Face and cranium are more robust than in modern humans, with big brow ridges. Neanderthal faces projected forward, compared to ours.
The discovery of a Neanderthal hyoid bone, a very small, U-shaped bone at the base of the tongue involved with speech in modern humans, shows it to have been virtually interchangeable with our own, strongly suggesting the possibility of speech. However studies of the mouth cavity suggest a more limited range of speech sounds could have been produced, and it is unknown what speech-related cognitive abilities may have had. The FOXP2 gene, a gene associated with modern speech, is seemingly present in Neanderthal DNA. At present most scholars cautiously suspect that Neanderthals probably did have speech and that it probably was not as effective or sophisticated as that of H. sapiens.
Postcranial Features:
Slightly differently proportioned from modern humans, with the rib cage less cylindrical. Substantially denser bones than any modern human population.
Habitats:
Steppe and tundra, but more temperate climates in Africa.
Special Note:
Neanderthals are associated with the European Ice Age and with the Mousterian tool industry, using the Levallois technique. In recent years scholars have been more and more convinced that some late Neanderthals were also responsible for some Chatelperronian tools, a "style" shared with H. sapiens. There are indications of burial of the dead and nursing of the incapacitated. Evidence of language is mixed. (More About Mousterian Tools, More About Chatelperronian Tools; Definition of the Levallois technique.)
Wikipedia link

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Comparison of Modern Human and Neanderthal Skeletons
(San Diego Museum of Man)


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La Chapelle aux Saints



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Waxwork Reconstruction of Generic Neanderthal
(San Diego Museum of Man)


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Waxwork Reconstruction of Generic Neanderthal
(San Diego Museum of Man)


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Reconstruction of Le Moustier by Famed Moscow Anatomist Michael Gerasimov
(Gerasimov 1964, plate 4)


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Neanderthal from La Ferrassie (France)
(Dept of Anthropology, UCSD)

photo by DKJ
Two Chinese Fossils

Left: Neanderthal-like (but non-Neanderthal) Mǎbà Man (马坝人). Right: Cro-Magnon-like (but non-Cro-Magnon) Tiányuán Man (田园洞人), aka Liǔjiāng Man 柳江洞人. Most Chinese fossils have still not been definitively accommodated by typologies developed on the basis of contemporary specimens in Africa and Europe.




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Neanderthal Fistfight
(It is well to remember that they were people too.)
(Préhisto Parc, Tussac, France)


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