The Life ofNeanderthals
Neanderthals were the earlier species of Homo Sapiens or humanbeings. This extinct species existed about 30,000–300,000 yearsago in parts of western Asia and Europe. Anthropological evidencesuggests that the Neanderthals had near-human physiological andmorphological features through they were distinctly differently frommodern human beings. They had an average height of 166 cm for malesand 154 cm for females. Average weight was 77.6 kg for males and 66.4kg for females (Tillier, 145).
Although the species had almost similar height and weight to Homosapiens, they were significantly stronger, had a larger cranium andhad an extended and even faster period of growth. The large craniumallowed bigger brains averaging 1600 cm3 is bigger thanthat of Homo Sapiens averaging 1400cm3. These are thetraits that made the species survive the harsh ice age environments.Most of the bones collected show signs of skull fractures and bonefractures which contributed largely to the low life expectancy withinno evidence to suggest Neanderthals lived past 50 years. This isattributed to the environment. The European Neanderthal were betteradapted to their environment than their Asian counterparts as theEuropean species went ahead to survive for an additional 20 000 yearsafter the Asian species had been extinct (Purcell, 43).
Neanderthals had a unique culture. They made basic tools toaccomplish basic tasks such as hunting. Evidence of tools haveincluded wooden spears with some tipped with stones. There is noevidence of aesthetic activities from Neanderthals. There are varyingdebates on other alleged cultural activities such burial sites. ANeanderthal burial site discovered in Uzbekistan tends showed anarrangement of goat horns with some archeologists indicating this wasa cultural burial activity while others dismissed that as the work ofpredators (Purcell, 42).
The debate on the life and times of Neanderthals will not stop soon.As new archeological evidence keeps being discovered, the story ofNeanderthals might change. However, as some of the closest relativesto the modern man, there is need to study them to understand betterthe evolution process.
Purcell, Brendan. From Big Bang to Big Mystery: Human Origins inthe Light of Creation and
evolution.New York New City Press.
Tillier, A. Factsand idea in Paleolithic growth studies (Paleoauxology). InCondemi, S. &
Weiniger, G.Continuity and Discontinuity in the Peopling of Europe. 2011.