Evolution History Map
The Neandertal* brain size, 1400-1450cc, (this is a modest approximation as they have uncovered some Neandertal's whose brains were as large as 1700cc) was larger than Erectus that enabled them to have an even more advanced toolkit. Their large brain capacity, similar to humans' today, yet more elongated, had a great deal to do with supporting their bulky, powerful bodies. Recent research also discloses they most likely had limited speech capabilities. They lived from 230,000 to 30,000 years ago, a relatively short span. This is probably because Neandertals lived brutal lives as close-range hunters -- many recovered skeletons show injuries from animals they hunted. Recent evidence shows their diet was almost entirely that of meat.
Neandertals were the first species known to wear clothes all of the time due to the ice cold weather. They had a complex social structure that show they were the first to carefully bury their dead. Recent DNA extracted from a bone specimen shows Neandertals are not our direct ancestors, as previously thought.
In 1998, new evidence of a Paleolithic skeleton of a four year old child, the first of its kind ever found in the geographic region of Lisbon, Portugal, suggests that Neandertals interbred with the Cro-Magnan immigrants. A recent theory is that Cro-Magnan's absorbed the Neandertals into their species through interbreeding thus having become part of the modern human gene pool.
This latest information contradicts two DNA tests of Neandertals conducted in 1997 and 2000 that showed a significant difference from human DNA that suggests Neandertals are not part of the human family. Regardless, experts say our DNA testing may be flawed in our not considering the evolution and changes of DNA over a wide time span.
Photo courtesy of the The Neanderthal Museum, Germany
*There are two ways Neandertal is spelled --(Neanderthal).