5 facts about Neanderthals that will change your opinion about them

What does science know about Neanderthals? In fact, over many years of studying their skeletons and tools, scientists have learned a lot of interesting things about ancient people. For example, today it is known that this type of people disappeared approximately 40 thousand years ago. Judging by the finds, they spent a lot of time inside the caves, and also knew how to make tools to make life easier. They knew how to hunt, and very large animals like mammoths. Artists typically depict Neanderthals as short, hunchbacked people with large brow ridges, and many people believe that they were much dumber than modern men and women. What if we said that half of what was written above is not true? Many people have the wrong image of Neanderthals after watching old documentaries. But science does not stand still, and the results of new scientific research paint a completely different picture of the most famous ancient people.

5 facts about Neanderthals that will change your opinion about them. Perhaps your whole idea about Neanderthals was wrong. Image source: Photo credit: Regulus Tremerus. Photo.

Perhaps your whole idea about Neanderthals was wrong. Image source: Photo credit: Regulus Tremerus

The authors of the scientific publication IFL Science recently wrote that much information about Neanderthals is complete nonsense. According to them, the popular image of a stern and stupid ancient man has developed due to old documentaries and television shows. Recent scientific research suggests that Neanderthals were completely different from what most people imagine.


  • 1 Neanderthal genes in modern humans
  • 2 What Neanderthals looked like
  • 3 Neanderthal jewelry
  • 4 How Neanderthals survived
  • 5 Resurrection of Neanderthals
  • Neanderthal genes in modern humans

    Many people imagine Neanderthals as very ancient, and not direct relatives. In fact, Neanderthals lived 40,000 years ago, which is not that long ago in evolutionary terms.

    At the time the Neanderthals began to disappear, modern humans were already living on our planet. And scientists have no doubt that they overlapped. Over a period ranging from a couple of thousand years to tens of thousands of years, the two types of people saw each other and even had sex.

    Neanderthal genes in modern humans. Neanderthals and modern humans probably overlapped, many times. Image source: wikipedia.org. Photo.

    Neanderthals and modern humans probably crossed paths, many times. Image source: wikipedia.org

    Copulation between modern humans and Neanderthals was possible because our DNA is 99.7% similar. Therefore, many Europeans and Asians have from 1 to 4% Neanderthal genes. Consequently, modern people have some features that their ancestors had. For example, some of us have inherited protection from certain diseases and large noses. Neanderthals also transmitted diseases to some people – one of them is Dupuytren's contracture.

    Read also: How Neanderthal women lived – the neural network depicted their difficult everyday life

    What Neanderthals looked like

    If you think that Neanderthals were hunchbacked and stupid versions of modern humans, then you are seriously mistaken. Considering that ancient people knew how to make complex tools and could also hunt dangerous animals, they clearly were not stupid. Also, the remains of Neanderthals hint that they could easily walk with a straight back, and very quickly.

    What Neanderthals looked like. Neanderthal skull. Image source: humanorigins.si.edu. Photo.

    Neanderthal skull. Image source: humanorigins.si.edu

    But where did the image of a hunchbacked and stupid ancient man come from? Its author is the geologist Pierre Marcelin Boule, who in 1911 reconstructed the appearance of a Neanderthal based on the first relatively complete skeleton. He created a man with a crooked posture and bent knees, which is what we imagine when we hear the word “Neanderthal.” But this image is complex, because it later turned out that the one used for reconstruction belonged to an elderly man with serious joint diseases.

    Neanderthal jewelry

    Do you think that ancient people only knew how to make clubs and axes? Well, no, because scientists have many times found exquisite necklaces made from animal teeth, seashells and ivory.

    Neanderthal jewelry. According to scientists, this is a set of Neanderthal jewelry. Image source: iflscience.com. Photo.

    According to scientists, this is a set of Neanderthal jewelry. Image source: iflscience.com

    Scientists believe that the mere fact that Neanderthals sought to decorate their appearance says a lot about the development of their thinking. Most likely, they not only wore necklaces, but also used small and shiny stones as makeup.

    You might be interested:Why did Neanderthals collect “collections” from animal skulls


    How the Neanderthals survived

    The life of every Neanderthal was accompanied by pain, from beginning to end. When scientists study the skeletons of ancient people, they almost always find signs of fractures and trauma on the bones. According to anthropologist Erik Trinkaus, he has never seen the remains of an adult Neanderthal with intact bones.

    How Neanderthals survived. Neanderthals survived in harsh conditions thanks to care. image source: gazeta.ru. Photo.

    Neanderthals survived in harsh conditions thanks to their care. image source: gazeta.ru

    Despite numerous injuries, Neanderthals lived to be 40-50 years old, which thousands of years ago was considered old age. Scientists tend to assume that they managed to survive thanks to the care of other ancient people. For example, it was thanks to their caring attitude towards each other that they were able to survive the Ice Age.

    Resurrection of the Neanderthals

    Modern scientists want to resurrect ancient animals like mammoths. Recently, an article was even published on our website that we will be able to see a living mammoth as early as 2028.

    Thanks to the rapid development of technology, in the future scientists will be able to resurrect even Neanderthals. Today, reading and writing DNA occurs a million times faster than ten years ago, so it’s easy to believe.

    Resurrection of the Neanderthals. Perhaps in the future we will witness the revival of the Neanderthals. Image source: novator.io. Photo.

    Perhaps in the future we will witness the revival of Neanderthals. Image source: novator.io

    In the 2000s, Swedish biologist Svante Pääbo was able to determine the DNA sequence of Neanderthals. Now scientists are faced with the task of creating the genome of an ancient human and introducing it into human stem cells. In theory, therefore, scientists will be able to create a clone of a Neanderthal and revive the ancient species of man.

    If you liked the article, be sure to check out our Zen channel. You will find a lot of interesting things there!

    From a scientific point of view, the resurrection of Neanderthals is possible. But scientists have serious restrictions in the form of prohibitions. For example, for ethical reasons, they are prohibited from cloning people. Moreover, if it comes to resurrection, they will have to find a woman willing to become a surrogate mother for a Neanderthal.

    What if we imagine that instead of modern people, Neanderthals ruled the world? Then our planet would look completely different – something like this.