MAURICIO ANTON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MAURICIO ANTON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Neanderthal couple (Homo neanderthalensis), artwork. Neanderthals were relatives of humans that inhabited Europe and western Asia between around 230,000 and 29,000 years ago. They were stockier than modern humans, with whom they co- existed, having prominent brow ridges, a heavier, more muscular frame and a barrel chest. These are thought to have been adaptations to the cold environment in which they lived, as Europe was a far cooler region in that period. They did not use complex tools but had mastery of fire and built shelters. They lacked projectile weapons, though, and tended to use stabbing or hacking weaponry. It is not known why they became extinct, but many suspect they were outcompeted by modern humans.
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