Human evolution is a subject of great intrigue and interest for many. The journey from the tree to upright walking to the modern species that we are holds so much for us to discern and learn. Go back millions of years and realize how human generations have evolved. Many factors have been vital, such as changing climates, survival strategies, and food. Over time, humans have honed their skills and weapons, increasing their endurance levels for better prospects. The human evolution process is similar to growing technologies in simple words. For instance, smartphones emerged on the horizon early in this century. But they evolved as the engineers continued to work on them through the decades. Earlier, phones used electricity before moving to radio technology for communication enablement.
Hence, like everything, humans evolve. When you study evolution stories, you pay more attention to anything around Neanderthals and Homosapiens.
Neanderthals vs. Homosapiens
If you go through physical anthropology, you will discover that the extinct Neanderthal species inhabited the planet about 350k to 40k years ago. Homo sapiens are modern people. Some opine that modern species came from Neanderthals. However, data suggest that they are modern humans’ close relatives. Most images of Neanderthals show them as hunched cave dwellers with a club in their hands. But there is much more to this specie than one can imagine. Let’s explore these two distinct human species.
The differences between the two human species
One exciting area, to begin with, is facial cuts and skulls. Modern humans have rounder skulls. The ancestral species had long heads from back to front. A giant skull indicated a larger brain. Their brow bridge was also prominent, with a long nose underneath. Their foreheads were much more sloped, and their chin was barely noticeable. Even nostrils were bigger than the homo sapiens. These helped them breathe more as they performed strenuous activities, specifically during winters.
They also differed significantly in height. The modern species can be tall or short based on their country’s living conditions, race, and gender. Still, they are relatively more elevated than their extinct predecessors. Today, most men and women are 5ft 9 inches and 5ft 4 inches on average. Neanderthals were essentially 5 feet and 5ft 6 inches. The short height of Neanderthals can be because of their shorter lower legs and arms. Modern species have longer limbs. If you compare them by bones, earlier human species enjoyed more bone structure than modern humans. The thick metacarpals helped them deal with a harsh lifestyle. Also, there is a remarkable difference in the upper arms. Their humerus bone was asymmetrical, unlike the homo sapiens. Since Neanderthals had large skulls, their neck also had thicker vertebrates.
Another area where their features are distinctive is their body shape. Homosapiens usually have a narrow pelvis and standard chest shape, while their pelvis is wider and chest looks barrel-shaped.
Some people find it confusing if Neanderthals are also the same species as humans. The experts clarify that homo sapiens and Neanderthals are separate. Modern humans are homo sapiens. But interestingly, some studies found traces of Neanderthal DNA in a few evolved people.