Who Were th Neanderthals?

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Neanderthals are modern humans closest extinct relative. They are part of the genus homo (Homo neanderthalensis) meaning they are very closely related to present day Homo sapiens, or modern humans. Fossil evidence suggests they lived from approximately 200,000 to 28,000 years ago when they became extinct. Neanderthals lived generally in central to southwest Asia and Europe. The first discovery of a Neanderthal fossil occurred in 1856. This fossil was found in Neander Valley in Germany. In German the word for valley is thal, so in 1864 geologist William King fittingly suggested naming the fossil specimen a Neanderthal. Upon further study of these fossils and others that were found it was realized that despite being in the same genus as modern humans Homo Neanderthalensis had very different features.
Neanderthals were a lot shorter and stockier than present day humans. Average heights of male Neanderthals were 5 feet 5 inches and their average weight was 143 pounds. There was some degree of sexual dimorphism in Neanderthals as Females were generally a little shorter and less heavy than males, yet not as great a difference as previous Hominids. Neanderthals lived during the Pleistocene Epoch, which was characterized by various ice ages. Therefor the Neanderthals had many adaptations for the cold. They were more robust than Homo sapiens and had very short legs and arms, making them very compact and good at conserving body heat. They also had large noses for the purpose of converting cold air. Other defining characteristics included large brow ridges and angled cheek bones. Overall Neanderthals were very strong compared to modern humans. Their bones tended to be very thick and had high density, suggesting they did a lo...

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...humans until they were absorbed into the modern human species is hotly debated in the scientific community.
Neanderthals are the closest human relative that went extinct, if they did indeed go extinct. The evolution of humans dates back some 4-5 million years ago. Neanderthals and modern humans shared a common ancestor up until somewhere between 500,000 and 200,000 years ago. The Neanderthals existed from approximately 200,000 to 28,000 years ago. This places Neanderthals very close to today in terms of human evolution. Neanderthals were very sophisticated, adapted to their environments, but more robust than Homo sapiens. However Neanderthal genes are 99.5 to 99.9% identical to modern humans. The gene similarity and the fact Homo sapiens and Neanderthals probably existed at the same time, create the highly debated idea that we have Neanderthal DNA inside us.
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