The Truth About Neandertals

Neanderthal man is the name given to the bones and tools found in parts of Europe and Asia. Scientists believe that these men first appeared around 600,000 years ago though others place the date at 350,000 years ago. The name relates to both the location where the first specimen was found, as well as the a theologian who lived in the immediate area. Studies have found that around 5% of the genes found in modern man are also found in this early man.

In 1829 the first Neanderthal skull was found in Belgium. The skull looked so misshapen that researchers assumed it was some type of bear. It wasn’t until 1857 that researchers discovered it was human. At least 400 other specimens have been found since then. Studies on these bones uncovered the fact that these people stood five feet tall and weight a little more than modern day humans, but were much stronger.

Marcellin Boulle discovered the fossil of a Neanderthal and originally helped spread some misconceptions. He stated that these people stood hunched over, had massive amounts of body hair and looked more like an ape or monkey than a man. Later studies found that the fossil he worked with was actually of a much older man and therefore only explained how these people looked when they aged.

Resources on Neanderthal man include:

  • Neadertals : gives basic information on the background and discovery of these people.
  • Neanderthals on Trial : offers videos and more information on the DNA testing used on early bones found.
  • The Neanderthal Theory : discusses the link between common diseases today and the early version of men.
  • Natural History Museum : focuses on the diet that early man consumed.
  • Fossil Science : discusses the diet of early man in depth and what these people ate regularly.
  • Neanderthals : provides background information including when the bones of these people were found.
  • Neanderthal Study Guide : gives questions and an overview of the topic for students.
  • Ten Myths About Neanderthals : lists common myths associated with early man and the truth behind those myths.
  • Neanderthal Man : gives basic facts about Neanderthal man and his lifestyle and habits.
  • Homo Neanderthalensis : offers a short overview on these people and their lives.
  • BBC News : focuses on the similarities between modern man and early man.
  • The Neanderthal Sites : discusses popular sites, with photographs where bones and other relics were found.
  • Neadertals : gives information on the tools, diet and discovery of these early men.
  • Krapina Neanderthals : focuses on the findings of Neanderthal man in Croatia.
  • Neanderthal DNA : discusses the DNA findings scientists have discovered in early man.
  • The Cryptid Zoo : offers information on early man and the things they did and ate.
  • Comparing Neanderthals : compares the brain of early man with modern man.
  • Tools, Weapons and Artifacts : focuses on the artifacts researchers have found relating to early man.
  • The Way We Were : discusses the 1999 findings that proved another version of Neanderthal man once existed.
  • Neanderthal Facts : provides basic historical facts relating to Neanderthal man.

The twentieth century brought new changes to the idea of Neanderthal man. Gone were the days of primitive background checks, replaced with modern day technology. Using computer imagery, scientists were able to give these people faces and determine what they looked like. Researchers discovered that these people had a flat skull that looked large and exaggerated, a middle portion of their face that stuck out and large lips. With all the advances available in terms of technology, researchers will hopefully uncover more facts and features in the future.