Homo Neanderthalensis- the Neanderthals

3667 WordsApr 11, 201115 Pages
Since their discovery more than a century ago, the Neanderthals have hovered over the minds and have baffled the best-laid theories of paleoanthropologists. They seem to fit in the general scheme of human evolution, and yet they’re misfits. (Jurmain, Kilgore, Trevathan and Ciochon. p.367) In a way they are like us the modern Homo sapiens but yet are a very different species. But the real question that needs to be answered is “why the Neanderthals were considered a different species than the Homo sapiens and what made them go extinct?” The first Neanderthal remains were discovered in the year of 1856 in Germany. This discovery of a skullcap and partial skeleton in a cave in the Neander Valley (near Dusseldorf) was the first recognized…show more content…
Viewed from the side, the occipital bone is somewhat bun-shaped. The forehead rises more vertically than that of a H. Erectus, and the brow ridges arch over the orbits instead of forming a straight bar. The Neanderthals were robust, barrel-chested, powerfully muscled. They also had a large, thick skull, a sloping forehead, and a chinless jaw. This robust skeletal structure, in fact, dominates hominin evolution from H. Erectus through all premodern forms. (Jurmain, Kilgore, Trevathan and Ciochon. p.370). Neanderthals had a compact body of short stature. Males averaged 1.7 m (5ft 5in) tall and an estimate to weigh 84kg (185lb), and females averaged 1.5 m (5ft) tall and an estimate 80kg (176lb). (Smithsonian 2007c). Neanderthals also differed from modern Homo Sapiens in that they had a low forehead, double arched brow ridge, larger nasal area, projecting cheek region, weak chin, obvious space behind the third molar, heavily-built bones, broad scapula, short lower leg and arm bones relative to the upper portions, occasional bowing of the limb bones, the hip rotated outward, a long and thin pubic bone, and large joint surfaces of the toes and long bones. (Smithsonian 2007c). Neanderthals had noses that were broad and very large. They had limb bones that were thick and had large joints which indicate they had strongly muscled arms and legs. The shin bones and forearms tended to be shorter than those of modern humans. The pelvis was wider from side to side
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