Neanderthals (also spelled "Neandertals") were shorter and more stocky than homo sapiens. Their faces were also much larger and wider, and they sported a wider nose. These adaptations made it easier for them to live in colder environments.Continue Reading
Neanderthal brains were also on average larger than the brains of Homo sapiens, and Neanderthals were skilled at using tools and hunting large game. While early Neanderthals were likely mostly scavengers, they learned to be proficient in spear hunting. The tools they used were usually made of stone, though modified bone and antler tools have also been found. They made shelters and clothing and understood fire, and there is evidence that they had some form of symbolism, as they practiced burial and using ornamental objects.
This species lived in western Asia and Europe from 200,000 to around 28,000 years ago, and at the end of that range they existed in the same areas as early Homo sapiens. They had a lifespan of around 30 years. Evidence suggests that they lived in nuclear family groups and had a sense of community, to the point where community members cared for the sick and elderly when they were unable to care for themselves, according to About.com. Despite similarities with Homo sapiens, there is some controversy about how closely related the two species were.Learn more about Prehistory