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Neandopedia - Facts about the Neandertal

 Like an encyclopedia, our 'Neandopedia' presents many basic facts concerning the Neandertal man. We should also view the descriptions of fossil Neandertals. 
Homo sapiens paleohungaricus.


Neandertal (Neanderthal) 

Name Translation

(Human of the) Neander Valley
The 'old German' word for valley is 'Thal'.
It changed to 'Tal' in the early 20th century.

Family Tree

(View the tree)
ORDER : Primates
INFRAORDER : Catarrhini
SUPERFAMILY : Hominoidea
FAMILY : Hominidae
GENUS : Homo

Species Described

Homo neanderthalensis, King, 1864
H. sapiens neanderthalensis, Campbell, 1964


Europe - Belgium, Croatia, France,
Germany, Gibraltar, Great Britain,
Greece, Hungary, Italy, Spain

Middle-east - Iran, Iraq, Israel


Climates seasonally mild to nearly arctic
Below 1000 meters elevation
except Teshik-Tash at 3150 meters


Pleistocene - 28 to 230 thousand years ago 
Eemian interglacial through Wurm glaciation 

First Discovery Areas

Engis, Belgium, 1830
- remains unrecognized until 1936

Forbes Quarry, Gibraltar, 1848
- remains at Garrison Library

Neander Valley, Feldhofer Grotto, 1856
Type Specimen - near Dusseldorf, Germany

Discovered by

German quarry workmen, August 1856 

Recognized By

Johann C. von Fuhlrott, 1856 : Click to view original paper. 1.1mb
Schoolteacher and amateur natural historian

First Presented By

Herman Schaaffhausen, June 1857 : Click to view original paper. 976kb 

Named By

William King, 1856 : Click to view original paper. 344kb 

Earliest Specimen

Braincase from Ehringsdorf, Germany
- probably 200,000 years old

Physical Appearance

Click to view the fossil skull postcard. The Neandertal's physical appearance is similar to modern Homo sapiens only adapted to colder environments. Shorter and heavier with shorter limbs, and generally more robust than modern man. Other distinguishing characteristics differentiated them such as a slight bowing of the limbs or hands more developed for gripping power than fine manipulation. Two main differences in facial appearance are a protruding face and a lower, flatter braincase with a marked bulge in the rear. A compact form complimented with powerful muscles making them extremely strong for their size. 


4.9 - 5.7 feet 


Females 130-140 pounds
Males 165-176 pounds


1200-1740 cubic centimeters


Mousterian (Tool Tradition)
Named after rock shelter Le Moustier, France


Approximately 30-35 years on average. The La Chapelle-aux-Saints specimen may be in the range of 40 years old. 


The bone for speech is present, but evidence is restricted to associated factors, such as formal burials, which point to a cooperative society. 

Early Analysis

Ancient Dutchman; J.A. Wagner
Celt; H. von Mayer
Mongolian Cossack of War of 1814; F. Mayer
Pathological (microcephalic) idiot, R. Virchow