Neanderthal cleaning his teeth, conceptual illustration

Neanderthal cleaning his teeth, conceptual illustration

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Credit: SMETEK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Neanderthal cleaning his teeth, conceptual illustration. 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).

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