Neanderthals in summer, artwork

Neanderthals in summer, artwork

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Credit: MAURICIO ANTON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Neanderthals in summer, artwork. Like modern humans, Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) are members of the Homo genus. They inhabited Europe and western Asia between 230,000 and 29,000 years ago. They did not use complex tools but had mastery of fire and built shelters. It is thought that they had language and a complex social structure, living in small family groups and hunting for food. The male Neanderthal at left is holding the skull of a sabre-toothed cat. It is not known why Neanderthals became extinct, but one theory is that they were outcompeted by modern humans (Homo sapiens).

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