19 Facts About Neanderthal


The type specimen, Neanderthal 1, was found in 1856 in the Neander Valley in present-day Germany.

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The Neanderthal skull was more elongated and had smaller parietal lobes and cerebellum, morphological traits used to assign specimens to species.

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Neanderthal admixture was found to be present in modern populations in 2010 with the mapping of the first Neanderthal genome sequence.

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In 2012, British-American geneticist Graham Coop hypothesised that they instead found evidence of a different archaic human species interbreeding with modern humans, which was disproven in 2013 by the sequencing of a high-quality Neanderthal genome preserved in a toe bone from Denisova Cave, Siberia.

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However, the absence of Neanderthal-derived patrilineal Y-chromosome and matrilineal mitochondrial DNA in modern humans, along with the underrepresentation of Neanderthal X chromosome DNA, could imply reduced fertility or frequent sterility of some hybrid crosses, representing a partial biological reproductive barrier between the groups, and therefore species distinction.

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Body proportions are usually cited as being "hyperarctic" as adaptations to the cold, because they are similar to those of human populations which developed in cold climates—the Neanderthal build is most similar to that of Inuit and Siberian Yupiks among modern humans—and shorter limbs equates to higher retention of body heat.

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The Neanderthal skull is typically more elongated and less globular than that of most modern humans, and features much more of an occipital bun, or "chignon", a protrusion on the back of the skull, although it is within the range of variation for humans who have it.

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Neanderthal dental wear patterns are most similar to those of modern Inuit.

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Neanderthal skull is distinctively elongated, a diagnostic shape known as en bombe, with smaller parietal lobes and a smaller cerebellum, areas implicated in tool use, visuospatial integration, numeracy, creativity, higher-order conceptualization, muscle memory, and possibly language, attention, working memory, social abilities, and episodic memory.

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Neanderthal brains have larger occipital lobes, likely an adaptation to lower light conditions in Europe that implies internal differences in the proportionality of brain-internal regions, relative to Homo sapiens, consistent with external measurements obtained with fossil skulls.

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Neanderthal-derived alleles near ASB1 and EXOC6 are associated with being an evening person, narcolepsy, and day-time napping.

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Hayden postulated that the small number of Neanderthal graves found was because only high-ranking members would receive an elaborate burial, as is the case for some modern hunter-gatherers.

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Neanderthal suggested that self worth in Neanderthal culture derived from contributing food to the group; a debilitating injury would remove this self-worth and result in near-immediate death, and individuals who could not keep up with the group while moving from cave to cave were left behind.

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Further, animal remains from Neanderthal caves indicate they preferred to hunt prime individuals, whereas cave hyaenas hunted weaker or younger prey, and cave hyaena caves have a higher abundance of carnivore remains.

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Neanderthal produced the adhesive birch bark tar, perhaps using plant-based resins for hafting.

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In 1971, cognitive scientist Philip Lieberman attempted to reconstruct the Neanderthal vocal tract and concluded that it was similar to that of a newborn and incapable of producing nasal sounds, due to the large size of the mouth and thus no need for a descended larynx to fit the entire tongue inside the mouth.

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The small number of recorded Neanderthal burials implies that the activity was not particularly common.

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Debate on Neanderthal funerals has been active since the 1908 discovery of La Chapelle-aux-Saints 1 in a small, artificial hole in a cave in southwestern France, very controversially postulated to have been buried in a symbolic fashion.

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Neanderthal compared it to the victims of headhunters in Malaysia and Borneo, putting it forward as evidence of a skull cult.

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