Neanderthals And The Middle Paleolithic

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Wyatt Rahn
Anthropology 1001 Human Origins
University of Northern Iowa

Neanderthals, also known as Homo neanderthalensis, existed mainly in the time period known as the Middle Paleolithic in the regions of Europe and southwestern to central Asia. The Middle Paleolithic took place from about 200,000 years ago until around 45,000 years ago. However, the Neanderthals still existed for about 15,000 years after that. After the Middle Paleolithic, the Neanderthals existed alongside anatomically modern humans and most likely interbred with them. Although the species of Homo neanderthalensis became extinct around 25,000 years ago, their DNA is still present in humans today. Neanderthals are without a doubt the closest extinct human relatives to modern humans. The first Neanderthal fossil was not found until the year 1829. This discovery in Belgium would prove to be one of the most important archaeological findings in history. After several more of these findings occurred, we have been able to learn countless facts about Neanderthals. Scientists believe they had very short, stocky, and powerful bodies, along with very strong teeth and jaw bones and a surprisingly large brain. Neanderthals had the ability to walk bipedally as we do today, and it is believed that they matured much faster than modern humans. Dental fossil evidence shows that an eight year old Neanderthal possessed the same dental structure as that of a ten to twelve year old

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