Neanderthals: An Overview

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Reasons for Preservation.

Neanderthals lived in Europe which is one of the most deeply explored regions in terms of prehistoric remains.

Many Neanderthals lived in caves and had a habit of burying their dead in the caves. This massively increased the chances of their preservation.

Remains tend to be more concentrated in caves than on open sites.

Physical features

Large brain size (differently shaped to ours)

Short, stocky physique

Powerful muscles

Greater size difference between sexes than seen in Homo sapiens.

Not certain whether they wore clothing, but the certainly possessed the technology to process animal skins.

Large teeth, often very worn.

Adaptations to their environment.

Analysis of the Skeletal remains demonstrated that Neanderthals lived hard, tough lives.

Many skeletons show evidence of features and injuries - possibly from hunting.

Neanderthal skeletons were strongly reinforced with strong bones, particularly in their legs.

Neanderthal Burials.

A Neanderthal buried in a cave in Iraq was blind in one eye and paralysed down one side of his body.

He appears to have survived despite these injuries, suggesting that he had support.

This is evidence that Neanderthals cared for the weak/old/infirm in their society.

Skeleton remains of a Neanderthal buried in Israel show it with its skull missing there are numerous explanations for this including it being taken by scavengers or removed as part of a mortuary ritual.

A great case study is Shanidar Cave.

Shanidar cave dates to 60,000…


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