Did Neanderthals belong to the same species as modern day humans or were they just another failed species of hominid? There are many missing links when trying to discover the differences between Neanderthals and modern humans. Neanderthals were the first Europeans who occupied the continent from 300,000 to 400,000 years ago (Williams 2010). They were naturally able to adapt to the cold climate considering they survived the last ice age. They were able to function by using stone tools, building fires and living in caves. In many ways, we are similar to Neanderthals but they cannot compare to us in terms of intelligence and survival.
In what ways were Neanderthals and modern day humans so alike and how did they differ? Considering Neanderthals were able to survive one of the wildly fluctuating temperatures, their bodies were slightly different than humans today. In order to conserve heat, their bodies were stocky and their noses were large enough to humidify the cold air when they breathed (Williams 2010). Neanderthals were much more muscular, especially in their shoulders and neck and their limb bones were thicker than humans today in order for them to withstand the stress (Diamond 1989: 54). Their average height was 5 feet four inches and they were at least 20 pounds more than an average modern human (Ibid). Their brain size was 10 percent greater than ours. It is unlikely that their brain had the neural connections that are contained in a modern human brain (Williams, 2010). These neural connections are vital for advanced intelligence. A Neanderthal woman's birth canal was much larger than a modern humans which allowed her baby to grow to a bigger size before birth (Diamond 1989: 55). Neanderthals acted similar to us in many ways by caring for the disabled, burying the dead and having some sort of religion (Merriman 1989: 75). Death was seen as an important stage in a person's existence usually marked with ceremonies as it is in...
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