Neanderthal Fossil Research Project

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Homo Sapiens Neanderthalensis

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mamalia
Order: Primates
Family: Homildae
Genus: Homo

Brain Size: Neanderthal people had a brain volume of about 1200 to 1800 cubic centimeters, equal to and even larger than modern human brains. Neanderthal skull reconstructions provide further evidence that they were a separate species to modern humans. Distinctive Neanderthal skull features were established in early infancy. Physical features in skull development, such as the Neanderthal’s receding chin and low, sloping forehead were fixed by the age of two years. Their hyoid bones, involved in speech, were basically identical to humans.

Quality of Bipedalism: Neanderthals walked with a fully upright posture. They remain far more closely related to us than most of the other extinct hominins.

Time Frame: Neanderthals diverged over 550,000 to 690,000 years ago. Other data estimates they lived between 365,000 and 853,000 years ago and 465,000 before present. Human trunk and limb bones of Homo antecessor, recovered from the Gran Dolina site in Spain have been dated at about 780,000 years old and are said to represent the last common ancestor for modern humans and Neanderthals. Phylogenetic analysis of Neanderthal mitochondrial DNA leads to a date for the common ancestor of the Neanderthal and modern humans at around 465,000 to 600,000 years ago. Archaeologists have found much physical evidence to confirm this date, such as the 0.73 Mya old fossils with stone tools and animal bones. The other date matches the movement of modern humans out of Africa and the appearance of modern traits in fossil skulls. Fossil skull traits such as high rounded skulls and small brow ridges, a vertical forehead and a pronounced chin first appear in Africa about 130,000 years ago. They then appear outside of Africa over 90,000 years ago.

Evidence of tools: Anthropologists classify Neanderthal tools as Mousterian. Neanderthals used...
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