Neanderthal teeth

Neanderthal teeth

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Credit: MARCO ANSALONI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Neanderthal teeth, being held and examined by Spanish archaeologist Enrique Baquedano. These teeth are the 3rd and 4th upper molars from a Neanderthal individual. Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) 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. It is not known why Neanderthals became extinct, but one theory is that they were outcompeted by modern humans (Homo sapiens). These specimens are from the La Buena Pinta cave at the Pinilla del Valle site, near Madrid, Spain.

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