Essay by wes1406College, Undergraduate November 2004

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                What were the Neanderthal? Neanderthal, the scientific name of which is Homo Neanderthalensis, existed roughly between 150 and 400 thousand years ago. They lived in Europe, Asia, and Africa. The first fossils humans to be discovered, Neanderthals have been studied exhaustively, with good reason. That's because there have been more Neanderthal bones found than any other fossil hominine group. That includes 30 nearly complete skeletons, so it is understandable why there has been so much research. The Neanderthal skeleton was shorter and stockier, built for the cold climate in which they lived. And having lived during the last ice age, a cold climate is definitely where they lived. The Neanderthal viewed their world from a skull that had brow ridges and a long protruding nose. The long nose helped by distancing the delicate tissues of the brain from the frozen, ice age air. Neanderthal also lacked a chin. The Neanderthal had a brain volume of 1200 - 1750 cc, which is larger than modern humans, but is attributed more towards the greater mass of the Neanderthal, rather than intelligence.

In fact, the Neanderthal were capable of speech, but not to the extent of modern humans. But around 30 thousand years ago, the Neanderthal disappeared. So if modern man and Neanderthals co-existed together, what happened to the Neanderthal?

                One theory is the "multi-regional" theory. It states that after Homo erectus left Africa and moved into other parts of the world, the separate populations slowly evolved into modern humans. Milford Wolpoff and his associates, the Multi-Regional Theory was formulated around 1992 at the University of Michigan. They maintain that Homo erectus moves out of Africa into Asia and the Middle East. Once dispersed, they evolved independently into Neanderthals, and later Homo sapiens. In 1998, anthropologists found a skeleton belonging to...