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I.1.6.c Neanderthal Man- La-Chapelle-auxsaints (Classical type), Mt. Carmel (Progressive type).

The term ‘Neanderthals’ is derived from an assemblages of fossils found in Neander valley of Germany. There are two types: Classical Neanderthals and Progressive Neanderthals.

  • Time Period: Appeared during third interglacial period from arounf 1,20,000 years ago to 30000 years ago
  • Height and Weight: Male: 164-168 cms, 77 kgs; Female: 152-156 cms, 66 kgs
  • Distribution: Mostly in Europe, Central Asia and Middle East

The main differences between Classical and Progressive types are in the skull. Both have similar post cranial features. The differences in the skull are:

Character Classical Neanderthals Progressive Neanderthals
Cranial Capacity 1600 CC 1400 CC
Skull Large and broad Long and less broad
Cephalic Index Lower Higher
Vault of skull Lower Higher
Forehead Receding Less Receding
Occipital Region Protruding Less Protruding
Supra Orbital Ridge Large and continuous Large and separation in middle
Orbits Less rounded More rounded
Upper Jaw Projecting Not Projecting
Nose Broad and Large Less Broad
Chin Absent Well Developed
Teeth Always Large Not always Large
Body Built Stocky Medium
Face Long and Prognathic Medium to short
Surface of Skull Rough Less Rough

Post Cranial Features are:

  • The vertebral column was short and stout
  • Ribs were strong indicating large thorax
  • Limbs were shorter but stouter with powerful muscular attachments which was characteristic of Neanderthal man.
  • Fingers were large and robust
  • Femur was strong.

Cultural Characteristics:

  • The flake industry of Mousterian tool technology always accompanied Neanderthal skeletal remains. It had smaller proportion of core tools like cleavers and hand axes and bigger proportion of small flake tools like scrapers. Some tools like Points might have been hafted or attached to shaft. Tools were involved in killing and butchering of animals and processing that food,
  • As ice sheet advanced into plains of Northern Europe people started living in Cave or rock shelters. These shelters are made comfortable for winter living by covering them with animal skins. Fire is regularly lit for warming and cooking.
  • Winter clothing: Recovery of Bone needles prove beyond doubt that Neanderthals tailored clothes which became very essential due to glacial climate.
  • Bear-cult: In a number of excavated caves the skulls of bears are placed in a rectangular lined pit covered with an enormous slab. Thus the big brown bear might have been an object of great reverence.
  • Language: Language development os doubtful as the pharynx is poorly developed which show their inability to pronounce vowels.
  • Ritualistic Burials: At certain places ritualistic burials with animals are indicated where dead body is associated with goat or bear skull. Many times bodies are accompanies with burial offerings such as flint tool kit and food offerings. Family cemeteries are also found.
  • Society and Religion: Group activities such as hunting, migration might have led to formation of nomadic society with inter personal relationship. This might have paved way for leadership and political system. To keep society in harmony some sort of religion must have appeared.
  • Neanderthals Philosophy: Neanderthals perhaps had awareness of dignity of individuals and interdependence of individuals and society.

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