Difference Between Neanderthals and Humans

Main Difference – Neanderthals vs Humans

Neanderthals and humans are two stages of human evolution. Both of the species wore clothes. Neanderthals lived in a cold environment in Europe and Southwestern to central Asia. Humans live all over the world. The differentiation of Neanderthals and humans can be described under biological anthropology, ethology, and linguistics. Neanderthals are the most related extinct species of humans. The main difference between Neanderthal and humans is that Neanderthals were hunter-gatherers whereas humans spend a settled life, producing food through agriculture and domestication.

Key Areas Covered

1. Who are Neanderthals
     – Definition, Characteristics
2. Who are Humans
     – Definition, Characteristics
3. What are the Similarities Between Neanderthals and Humans
     – Outline of common features
4. What is the Difference Between Neanderthals and Humans
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms: Brain, Cranial Features, Human Evolution, Homo Neanderthalensis, Homo sapiens, Humans, Neanderthals, Symbolic Expressions, ToolsDifference Between Neanderthals and Humans - Comparison Summary

Who are Neanderthals

Neanderthals were the closest extinct human relative of the modern man. The Neanderthals lived in Europe and Southwestern to central Asia about 400,000 to 40,000 years ago. The body of the Neanderthals was shorter and stockier than the modern man. The size of the brain was same as the modern man. But still, their brain was proportionally larger to their body. The large middle part of the face, the huge nose, which humidifies and warms cold, dry air, and angled cheek bones are some characteristic features of their facial structure.

Difference Between Neanderthals and Humans

Figure 1: Neanderthal’s Skull

The average height of the Neanderthal males was 5 ft 5 in and that of Neanderthal females was 5 ft 1 in. The average weight of the Neanderthal males was 143 lbs and that of Neanderthal females was 119 lbs. Neanderthals lived in shelter and they wore clothes. They were very skilled hunters of large animals, used sophisticated tools, and were capable of controlling fire. Neanderthals ate plant food as well. Sometimes, they used symbolic and ornamental objects.

Difference Between Neanderthals and Humans_Figure 2

Figure 2: Homo neanderthalensis

The dead bodies of Neanderthals were deliberately buried and graves were marked as well. Neanderthal is shown in figure 2

Who are Humans

The modern human is scientifically named as Homo sapiens. He evolved in Africa about 200,000 years ago and now they are found all over the world. The modern human has a lighter build in their skeleton when compared to his old ancestors. The average size of the brain is 1300 cm3. The skull has changed into thin-walled, vaulted structure with a flat, and near vertical forehead. These changes occurred to bear the large brain. The face of the modern man shows heavy brow ridges and prognathism. The jaws are less heavily developed with smaller teeth. A comparison of cranial features of humans and Neanderthal is shown in figure 3.

Main Difference - Neanderthals vs Humans

Figure 3: Cranial features of modern man and Neanderthal

The average height of the males is 5 ft 71/2 in and that of females is 5 ft 2 in. The weight of the males is 119-141 lbs and that of females is 168-183 lbs. Humans use more refined and specialized tools such as sewing needles and spear throwers. They spend a settled life and they are aware of domestication. Abstract thinking, planning depth, cultural diversity as well as symbolic expressions such as art and music are the characteristic features of humans.

Similarities Between Neanderthals and humans

  • Neanderthals and humans are two stages of evolution of the Genus: Homo.

  • Both Neanderthals and humans comprise similar genomes.

  • Both Neanderthals and humans have brains with similar sizes.

Difference Between Neanderthals and Humans

Definition

Neanderthals: Neanderthals are an extinct species of human, who were widely distributed in ice-age Europe.

Humans: Humans refer to the primate species of to which modern humans belong.

Scientific Name

Neanderthals: Neanderthals were named as Homo Neanderthalensis.

Humans: Humans were named as Homo sapiens.

Evolved in

Neanderthals: Neanderthals evolved about 400,000 to 40,000 years ago in Europe and Southwestern to central Asia.

Humans: Humans evolved about 200,000 years ago in Africa.

Habitat

Neanderthals: Neanderthals lived in Europe and Southwestern to central Asia.

Humans: Humans live all over the world.

Skull

Neanderthals: The Neanderthals skull comprised a large middle part of the face, a huge nose, and angled cheek bones.

Humans: The human skull is thin-walled, vaulted, with a flat, and near vertical forehead.

Body

Neanderthals: The body of the Neanderthals was short and stockier.

Humans: Humans have a lighter build when compared to his ancestor.

Body to Brain Proportionality

Neanderthals: The brain of the Neanderthals was larger when compared to their body.

Humans: Humans have special features in their skull to overcome the large size of the brain.

Height and Weight

Neanderthals: The average height of the Neanderthal males was 5 ft 5 in and that of Neanderthal females was 5 ft 1 in. The weight of the Neanderthal males was 143 lbs and that of Neanderthal females was 119 lbs.

Humans: The average height of the males was 5 ft 71/2 in and that of females was 5 ft 2 in. The weight of the males was 119-141 lbs and that of females was 168-183 lbs.

Life Style

Neanderthals: Neanderthals lived in shelters.

Humans: Humans spend a settled life.

Symbolic Expressions

Neanderthals: Neanderthals used symbolic and ornamental objects occasionally.

Humans: Humans use much more complex symbols as well as languages for communication.

Tools

Neanderthals: Neanderthals used sophisticated tools for hunting and other purposes.

Humans: Humans use much more sophisticated tools than Neanderthals.

Feeding

Neanderthals: Neanderthals were hunters and gatherers.

Humans: Humans are food producers.

Conclusion

Neanderthal and humans are two stages of the evolution of the Genus: Homo. Neanderthal is the most related extinct species of humans. Neanderthals and humans share more common features such as wearing clothes, using symbolic expressions, and sophisticated tools. The main difference between Neanderthals and humans is the lifestyle and cranial features of each species.  

Reference:

1. “Homo neanderthalensis.” The Smithsonian Institution’s Human Origins Program. N.p., 01 Mar. 2010. Web. Available here. 11 July 2017. 
2. “Homo sapiens.” The Smithsonian Institution’s Human Origins Program. N.p., 01 Mar. 2010. Web. Available here. 11 July 2017. 

Image Courtesy:

1.”Neanderthal profile” By edited from this (CC BY-SA 2.5) via Commons Wikimedia
2.”Homo neanderthalensis adult male – head model – Smithsonian Museum of Natural History – 2012-05-17” By Tim Evanson – (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia
3.”Sapiens neanderthal comparison” By hairymuseummatt – (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia

 

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things

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