Homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthals)

Homo neanderthalensis, otherwise known as Neanderthals, were probably our closest relatives. Neanderthals were humans but they were a different species from us, Homo sapiens. Homo neanderthalensis evolved in Europe and Asia while we were evolving in Africa.

Fossils are known from the southerly regions of western Eurasia in both glacial and interglacial periods, while mitochondrial DNA data suggest they expanded as far as Siberia at times.

Species detail

  • Size - Neanderthal adult height averaged about 160cm, and average body mass is estimated at about 60-85kg.    
  • Growth - most data suggest that the Neanderthals had an extended period of growth similar to, or only slightly accelerated compared with, Homo sapiens.
  • Life Expectancy - skeletal data suggest that it was rare for a Neanderthal to reach 50 years in age.
  • Physiology - assumed to have been largely similar to that of Homo sapiens, but with the possibility of a somewhat higher metabolic rate.
  • Homo neanderthalensis burial site

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  • Homo neanderthalensis cranium
    Distribution and ecology

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  • Neanderthal stone tools

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  • Homo neanderthalensis skull

    Homo neanderthalensis is thought to have been largely similar to Homo sapiens. Learn about the average size, growth patterns, life expectancy and physiology of this species.

  • Drawing of Homo neanderthalensis

    Get reference material for Homo neanderthalensis.


Homo neanderthalensis

Homo neanderthalensis

Homo neanderthalensis burial site

Homo neanderthalensis (Kebarah) burial site

Homo neanderthalensis cranium

Homo neanderthalensis (Swanscombe 1) cranium

Homo neanderthalensis (calpicus) cranium

Homo neanderthalensis (calpicus) cranium

Neanderthal stone tools

Neanderthal stone tools