The Neanderthals are an extinct species of human in the genus Homo, possibly a subspecies of Homo sapiens. 

They are very closely related to modern humans  differing in DNA by only 0.12%. Remains left by Neanderthals include bones and stone tools, which are found in Eurasia, from Western Europe to Central and Northern Asia. 

The species is named after Neandertal ("Neander Valley"), the location in Germany where it was first discovered.


A reconstruction of a neanderthal male at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. image: John Gurche/wikipedia

Neanderthals are generally classified by palaeontologists as the species Homo neanderthalensis, but a minority consider them to be a subspecies of Homo sapiens (Homo sapiens neanderthalensis).

The first humans with proto-Neanderthal traits are believed to have existed in Eurasia as early as 600,000–350,000 years ago with the first "true Neanderthals" appearing between 200,000 and 250,000 years ago.

Brain size ratio to body

Interestingly… average cranial capacity of 1600 cm3, Neanderthal's cranial capacity is notably larger than the 1400 cm3 average for modern humans. 


Ferrassie skull, male Neanderthal skeleton estimated to be 70–50,000 years old. It was discovered at the La Ferrassie site in France by Louis Capitan and Denis Peyrony in 1909. image: 120 /wikipedia


They were much stronger than modern humans, having particularly strong arms and hands. Males stood 1.64–1.68 m and females about 1.52–15.6 m 

Modern human interbreeding

Genetic evidence published in 2010 suggests that Neanderthals contributed to the DNA of anatomically modern humans, probably through interbreeding between 80,000 and 28,000 years ago with a population of anatomically modern humans.


Range of neanderthals . Image: Ryulong /wikipedia

source: Neanderthal. (2014, September 2). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 23:07, September 2, 2014, from