Anthropology论文模板 – Live of Neanderthals


The name Neanderthals was derived from where the first neander skull was first identified. They were first seen in Neander valley caves in Germany in the nineteenth cencury.Neanderthals are ancient forms of human which are closest to humans. They lived longtime ago. They originated in Africa but migrated to Europe. They are said to be short and strong which was their means of survival (Harris, 1996). Apart from the nature of their body, they also had different tactics which contributed to their survival like hunting to get food and nursing the injured.

Neanderthals are said to share a number of important characteristics with the modern human (Stringer & Andrews, 2005). These characteristics include; ability to walk, large brains and manual labor like making of hunting tools. They also showed a sense of socialization just like the modern human. The difference between them and the modern human was that they had more muscular limbs, large front teeth, large and strong jaws and greater endurance (Klein, 2009). When the modern human emerged, all these features disappeared although some researcher still insists they are present in human DNA which is still debatable.

Physical traits

Neanderthals walked upright like the modern human, they had hands, feet and all the body parts. They had a big brain, strong arms and legs, strong teeth and jaws (Stringer & Andrews, 2005). They were generally very strong people because they ate a lot of food. They were carnivorous and their strong jaws and teeth helped or them to have enough food for their survival in the forest.

Neanderthals way of living

Neanderthals had a strenuous ways of living. This is shown by the remains of older individuals which had signs of injuries and breakages. They also had defects in their teeth which was a sign of nutritional deficiencies. They did not live long and could still keep their injured victims for long. They used to stay in small groups throughout their live which would meet after a successful hunting making a community (Stringer & Andrews, 2005). They lived in small homes and did not travel out of the small homes and did not make contact with people who did not belong to their group. They moved frequently on the landscape and used the same location often.


Neanderthals lived around the edges of the forest. They were more of carnivorous and went hunting for large prey animals which could sometimes injure them. They were skilled hunters of deer, musk ox and other big animals to get food (Klein, 2009). They collected firewood from the forest which they used as a source of fire. They also collected some materials like stones which they used to construct shelters and spears.


They had some intelligence to make tools which they used during hunting. Their tools were made of high quality stones with uniform stone flakes (Stringer & Gamble, 1994). They rarely used bones as a raw material although a lot of debris around then was bones, but they later used them to make ornamentals and kitchen utensils .They practiced hafting of stone point into spears. They had several tools which they used in specific tasks. The spear was used for hunting. They also sharpened flints which they used to scrape their hides, cut their meat after hunting and to crack bones.


Neanderthals had big brains and this probably shows that they had a language. They showed communications during burials where some were found buried facing the same directions. They also placed burial goods and symbolic item which communicated something (Stringer & Gamble, 1994).

Surviving the cold climate

Neanderthals lived in cold environment and they survived this through different ways. First their body was short and a deep skeleton with wide ribcage. The deep skeleton acted as an insulator of heat and wide ribcage helped to keep their inner organs warm (Conroy, 2005). The body of the Neanderthals was structured in a way that maximized heat production and minimized heat loss. They ate a lot in order to maintain their stocky stature and to produce enough heat from their body .They also constructed caves by use of stones which prevented themselves from cold weather caused by ice snow.

Caring for each other

Neanderthals cared for each other especially during hardships. When one of them got injured during hunting, they used to nurse the victims (Klein, 2009). They also nursed the elder and the weak. For example they chewed for the elders who had lost their teeth. They also protected the dead by covering them with rocks or placing them in shallow pits. Neanderthals buried their dead in simple graves. They were the first human to bury their dead intentionally which showed that they had some formal way of disposing their dead in love. Several grave sites were found where people were buried which indicated that Neanderthals used to bury the dead (Stringer & Gamble, 1994). They protected the corpse by covering them with rocks or placing them in shallow pits. People were found burrier facing the same direction which tried to communicate something. They placed some burial goods and symbolic items which were assumed to be one of their ways they could communicate.

Social organization.

Neanderthals showed some socialization in their lifestyle. They buried the dead intentionally in simple graves. This was a social system to make some formal way of disposing the dead in love. When their individuals got injured especially during hunting, they kept them alive and even in some cases for decades (Stringer & Gamble, 1994). They also lived in small groups of five to ten and could meet to form communities in times of a successful hunt. This formed communities and was a form of social organization.


Neanderthals went extinct between 20,000 and 30000 years ago. Anthropologists have theorized different factors that could have caused the extinction of Neanderthals although still debatable (Schick & Toth, 1993). The following factors are said to have caused the extinction of the Neanderthals.

Human competition

The extinction of Neanderthals is said to have been caused by competition between them and the present human although some researchers say that extinction of the Neanderthals was before human made their way to the world (Stringer, 2011). This is supported by the presence of small fragments of glass which were found after a volcanic eruption in Europe 40000 years ago.The climate change which occurred after eruption was first said to be the cause of their extinction but later when the small fragments of glass were found, it was blamed that they had already gone before eruption.

The issue of climate change and competition with modern human and the combination of the two is said to have caused their extinction (Deacon, & Deacon, 1999). Modern human are said to have evolved before the Neanderthal extinction and therefore the Neanderthals lacked abilities for dealing with the Homo sapiens who lived in larger groups and communities and made contact with other groups unlike the Neanderthals who lived in small groups and did not come in contact with people from other communities (Stringer, 2011). This made the modern human stronger than the Neanderthals. Modern human are said to have more technologies than the Neanderthals which superseded their cultural behavior.


Neanderthals were said to be less intelligent compared to Homo sapiens and this could have contributed to their extinction. This factor is still not accepted by most of the researchers who still say that lack of intelligence did not contribute to extinction of Neanderthals. This was a result of a research done on stone tools where they found that the flakes made showed that Neanderthals were even more intelligent than the Homo sapiens (Conroy, 2005). The modern human are said to have superior brains, language and skills which allowed them to prevail over the Neanderthals. Humans are also said to have superior weapons and intellects which they used to fight them hence exterminating them completely.

Dietary deficiencies

Neanderthals were meat eaters only unlike Modern humans who had variety of food including vegetables and meat (Scarre, 2013). This shows that the Neanderthals had only one choice of food and therefore when hunting was not successful they could go hungry and sometimes starve. These difficulties of getting the little food they went through caused nutrient deficiencies in their body which could lead to death. Their enamel growth showed that many went through periods of great hunger while young. They had growth defects in their teeth which indicated some malnutrition (Schick & Toth, 1993). The humans variety of food made them have different choices and could not go hungry at any time therefore survived the harsh environment unlike the Neanderthals who could not survive but could only die of hunger. Their remains also showed frequency of traumatic injuries which might have contributed to their disappearance.

Ice age climate fluctuation

Fluctuation of the climate where the Neanderthals lived affected the plants and animals causing their disappearance. Modern human could tolerate this climate compared to the Neanderthals who could not tolerate without plants and animals (Lewin, & Foley, 2003). The Neanderthals struggled with the dramatic climatic changes but did not survive. The climate is said to have become more worse by turning colder 30000 years ago and the Neanderthals could not survive this therefore they died.

Interbreeding with Homo sapiens

Neanderthals married with Homo sapiens as a result of living together where they used to share the same caves and hearths. The people who went for hunting were mostly men (Stringer, 2011). During hunting they came across women where they mated resulting to gene mixing. They may be victims of love as they tried to cope with harsh climatic change whereby they ended up mating with the Homo sapiens (Scarre, 2013). They formed a new hybrid which was the kids they had together. The Neanderthal genetic uniqueness slowly disappeared into Homo sapiens. The modern human are said to carry Neanderthal genes in their DNA.

Neanderthal prey choices

Neanderthals were used to the big prey animals like deer but not the rabbits which had the high percentage of the biomass. When they big prey became scarce they were left with no food. Hunters who could turn on the available rabbits and vegetables could survive but since the Neanderthals could not they die of hunger (Deacon, & Deacon, 1999). The large animals are said to have lived until 30000 years ago and the rabbits were the only pray left. Rabbits were fed by the humans who are said to have survived after the extinction of the Neanderthals. If Neanderthals could have eaten other diets apart from meat they could have survived but their inability to take advantage of the high-biomass prey resource that is the rabbits caused their extinction. According to Harris (1996), This ability of hunters and gatherers getting used to one type of prey for example the large animals is said to apply to both Neanderthals and the modern man but the modern human was said to have survived this by division of duties whereby their children and women used to hunt the small prey and get the vegetables (Conroy, 2005). This indicated than the Modern human did not lack food even when the large prey decreased therefore they survived.

Neanderthals may have encountered some type of diseases and due to lack of immunity and cure they died. Their life expectancy was low compared to that of modern human. They had a short lifespan and a few lived past forty years and almost none lived past fifty years and therefore the elders were rare in these groups (Lewin, & Foley, 2003).


Neanderthals were people who lived in the past and had behavior like that of the modern human. They ate, walked, worked, held meetings, died and buried the dead just like human. How they disappeared is still debatable and no one has shown the exact evidence of what caused their extinction. Different theories discussed explain some ways Neanderthals could have disappeared but the theory that their extinction was caused either by human competition and climatic change due to volcanic eruption or combination of both still remains next to the truth but still can be debated.


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Lewin, R. & Foley, R., 2003 (2nded). Principles of Human Evolution. Oxford:
Scarre, C. (3rd edition), 2013. The Human Past: World Prehistory and the Development of

Human Societies. London:
Schick, K. & Toth, N., 1993. Making Silent Stones Speak. Wiedenfeld & Nicholson

Stringer, C. & Andrews, P. 2005. The Complete World of Human Evolution. London

Stringer, C. & Gamble, C., 1994. In Search of the Neanderthals. London: Stringer, C. 2011. The Origin of Our Species. London: Allen Lane Conroy, G., 2005. Reconstructing human origins. London: Norton.

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