Nobel laureate Svante Paabo and his team have recently published one of the biggest genetic studies yet of Neanderthals, providing clues about their community life and structure.
Who are ‘neanderthals’?
- Neanderthals are a hominin species that existed for at least 200,000 years throughout Europe and western Asia, and disappeared about 27,000 years ago.
- During this time, they witnessed some of the coldest climatic conditions ever known in these regions.
- Many of their physical features suggest that they were adapted for the cold, such as their barrel-shaped chests, shorter limbs, and larger brains, all of which suggest a body shape adapted for retaining heat.
- Their face was also distinctive. The central part of the face protruded forward and was dominated by a very big, wide nose.
- They excelled at hunting animals and making complex stone tools
- They were first discovered in 1856.
- Many Europeans and Asians have between 1 per cent and 4 per cent Neanderthal DNA while African people south of the Sahara have almost zero.