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Homo neanderthalensis


Neanderthal as portrayed in "Walking with Beasts"

The Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) also lived in Europe and parts of western Asia from about 230 000 years up to 29 000 years ago. There is still debate about if they are a different species to us or just a subspecies, but most scientists today tend to lean towards the distinct different specie hypothesis. They were well adapted to the cold with a more robust skeletal build, large braincases and a large nose. They did not seem to migrate over large distances, used less sophisticated tools and possibly did not have a sophisticated language, although this is speculation. They lived together in family groups and from their teeth it is deducted that their diet consisted mainly of meat! They were superb hunters, but it is suggested that they had one weakness; they did not adapt well to change. Could the sudden exceptionally cold glacial period have driven them into extinction? Or did the newcomers Homo sapiens out-compete them by being more adaptable and inventive? Neanderthal fossils have been found across Europe up to the Middle East. (41)