Neanderthals and Denisovans Shared a Siberian Cave for Thousands of Years, New Research Suggests

Denisova cave in southern Siberia was home to Neanderthals and Denisovans for thousands of years, but questions remain about the timing of their stay. A pair of new studies traces the history of archaic human occupation at the site, showing who lived there and when—including a possible era during which the two now-extinct species hung out together. Read More >>

Neanderthals Weren’t the Violent Brutes We Thought, New Research Finds

The stereotype of a typical Neanderthal life is that it was extraordinarily difficult, violent, and traumatic. But a comparative analysis of the remains left behind by Neanderthals and contemporaneous humans is finally overturning this unwarranted assumption. Read More >>

Analysis of Neanderthal Teeth Reveals Unexpected Exposure to Lead

Around 250,000 years ago, two Neanderthal children were exposed to excessive levels of lead in what is now France, according to new research. It’s the oldest known case of lead exposure in hominin remains—a discovery that’s presenting an obvious question: How could this have possibly happened so long ago? Read More >>

Neanderthals Survived in Ice Age Europe Thanks to Effective Healthcare

Neanderthals cared for their sick and wounded, and new research suggests this well-documented behaviour was more than just a cultural phenomenon or an expression of compassion—it really did help them survive. Read More >>

Did Neanderthals Go Extinct Because of the Size of Their Brains?

Using computers and MRI scans, researchers have created the most detailed reconstruction of a Neanderthal brain to date, offering new insights into the social and cognitive abilities of these extinct humans. But as to whether these characteristics were responsible for their ultimate demise remains an open question. Read More >>

Why Neanderthals Had Faces That Were So Different From Ours

Compared to modern humans, Neanderthals had heavy eyebrows, huge noses, and large, long faces that bulged forward. Using 3D computer models, an international team of scientists has analysed these facial features in detail, uncovering some likely explanations for these dramatic physical differences. Read More >>

Scientists Who Doubt Neanderthal Art Must Reckon With New Evidence From These Sweet Cave Paintings

Back in 2012, archaeologists concluded that a series of cave paintings in Spain were created by Neanderthals, not early humans as was previously assumed. Critics complained about the dating method used, and more contentiously, claimed that only modern humans had the capacity for symbolic thought. Now, using an updated dating technique, scientists have shown yet again that Neanderthals are the most likely source of the paintings—but will it be enough to finally dispel outdated notions of Neanderthal intelligence? Read More >>

Humans Have Even More Neanderthal DNA Than We Realised

A international team of researchers has completed one of the most detailed analyses of a Neanderthal genome to date. Among the many new findings, the researchers learned that Neanderthals first mated with modern humans a surprisingly long time ago, and that humans living today have more Neanderthal DNA than we assumed. Read More >>

Turns Out Even Neanderthals Used Painkillers

One of the best things about living in the future is the vast array of medical aids available to us, including a smorgasbord of painkiller choices when we've got a headache we're describing as a "migraine" so people feel more sorry for us. Read More >>

Did Neanderthals Die Because They Didn’t Have Jackets? It’s Complicated

A new paper suggests that Neanderthals, unlike humans, never figured out how to make coats to stay warm, and that the absence of this technological innovation contributed to their eventual demise. It’s an intriguing theory, but there’s more to the story of Neanderthal extinction than the absence of parkas. Read More >>

Neanderthals Ate Each Other and Used Their Bones as Tools

For over a century, palaeoanthropologists have been fascinated by a gory question: were Neanderthals cannibals? In recent years, we’ve found remains that suggest cannibalism did exist in various parts of southern Europe but new remains found in northern Europe add further evidence to the “yes” answer and tell us more about why cannibalism was practised. Read More >>

Having Neanderthal DNA Linked to Depression and Nicotine Addiction

We know that neanderthals and homo sapiens interbred, and that some people carry the genetic markers of that interbreeding. A new study looks at what it means to have neanderthal DNA mixed into the human genome — and researchers have found everything from a propensity for nicotine addiction to multiple genes affecting depression. Read More >>

You Can Boil Water in Paper Cups, Just Like the Neanderthals May Have

Boiling water is as easy as they say—even without pots and pans. Thanks to the laws of physics, you can put a flame up to a paper cup or plastic bag, and water will boil without scorching the container. A paleontologist is speculating that Neanderthals cooked their meat in birch bark trays or skin bags using the same principle, reports National Geographic. Read More >>