28. Neanderthals

  1. David R. Begun
  1. Katerina Harvati-Papatheodorou

Published Online: 14 JAN 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118332344.ch28

A Companion to Paleoanthropology

A Companion to Paleoanthropology

How to Cite

Harvati-Papatheodorou, K. (2013) Neanderthals, in A Companion to Paleoanthropology (ed D. R. Begun), Blackwell Publishing Ltd, Oxford. doi: 10.1002/9781118332344.ch28

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 14 JAN 2013
  2. Published Print: 25 FEB 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444331165

Online ISBN: 9781118332344

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Keywords:

  • human evolution;
  • Neanderthal fossils;
  • Neanderthals

Summary

Although the first Neanderthal remains were discovered in the early 19th century, their significance was not recognized until the discovery of the skeleton from the Neander valley. Ever since the neanderthal role assignment to the distinct species Homo neanderthalensis, the classification of Neanderthals and their role in human evolution have been the subject of intense discussion. Neanderthals are characterized by a suite of distinctive cranial, mandibular, dental, and postcranial anatomical features. Regarding anatomical evidence of Neanderthal linguistic and cognitive capabilities, Neanderthals possessed cranial capacities as large as or larger than modern humans. Neanderthals were the first extinct species to yield genetic information. The interaction between the effects of fluctuating climate and environment and of competition with modern humans led to the eventual disappearance of Neanderthals.