Neanderthals were the early species that lived around 400,000 to 40,000 years ago and they resemble modern humans.
They were humans like us and had an official name for their kind of species called Homo Neanderthalensis.
There are various controversial theories about their extinction. Some say that they became non existent due to their incapability of coexisting with the early humans.
Others believe that early humans crossed paths with Neanderthals and outsmarted and out numbered them.
There is one theory that speculates that humans infected them with deadly diseases.
Another theory says that the extinction of Neanderthals had nothing to do with humans. It could be just bad luck and not enough of them were left to hunt, protect their little ones and survive.
There are various myths and misconceptions about Neanderthals too. Let’s see some of the interesting facts now.
Neanderthals are most often depicted as slouched creatures with a hunched back. However, they walked upright just like us.
They had a hunch in their neck but an upright spine.
Controversial to one of the beliefs, there is also a speculation that early humans could have hunted and feasted on Neanderthals leading to their extinction.
Neanderthals were less of talkatives and more painters. Three Spanish cave paintings have been identified that date back to the time when Neanderthals were around.
And during that time the early humans had not yet arrived there.
Neanderthals had a distinct face where the centre was protruded forward and they had a big wide nose.
Their big nose played a crucial role in helping them adapt with the dry and cold environments they were living in.
Their teeth have scratch marks in them, especially in the front teeth. This has led to the belief that Neanderthals could have used their teeth like a third hand while making food and certain other materials.
Apart from painting, they were good at style too. They made jewellery from eagle talons, pierced animal teeth and ivory.
They also used pigments to stain their body just for style or to camouflage during a hunt.
Surprisingly, there are findings that suggest that Neanderthals were cannibals.
Since getting nutritious food was challenging for them, they had to kill and feast on another Neanderthal.
The speculation is that Neanderthals cannibalised their fellows for their bone marrow as remains have been found with deliberately broken bones so as to reach the bone marrow.
Neanderthals made their weapons for hunting, in particular, the spears. They picked a wooden shaft and attached sharp stones to them using glue to make spears.
They used their spears to hunt larger, nutritious animals like bison and rhinos.
Interestingly, if you are an Asian or a Caucasian, you probably have Neanderthal genes in you as your ancestors bred with them.
And that has only turned out to be good for us because their genes can fight off some of the really nasty viruses including the Epstein-Barr that’s related to various cancers.
Neanderthals had a great social life. They took very good care of their young ones, their older ones and lead a socially empathising life.
They buried their dead ones. And they were much more civilised as opposed to what most people think of them.
Also they are not the missing link between the humans and the apes.
For reasons unknown, Neanderthals have gone extinct, but their genes are still transferred and prevail among humans.
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