- David R. Begun
Published Online: 14 JAN 2013
Copyright © Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
A Companion to Paleoanthropology
How to Cite
Harvati-Papatheodorou, K. Neanderthals, in A Companion to Paleoanthropology (ed D. R. Begun), Blackwell Publishing Ltd, Oxford. doi: 10.1002/9781118332344.ch28
- Published Online: 14 JAN 2013
Print ISBN: 9781444331165
Online ISBN: 9781118332344
- human evolution;
- Neanderthal fossils;
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.