Neanderthals were discovered in 1848, when the territory of Gibraltar fortress was found the skull of a Neanderthal. But the scientific world has returned to Gibraltar skull even in those years when the scientific debate raged around other famous discovery - the remains discovered in the Neandertal valley. Few scientists were able to immediately understand the importance of opening. For a long time considered to be the ancestors of Neanderthals modern man. Today it is obvious that this is not true: the Neanderthals - quite independent species Homo sapiens. Moreover, at a certain historical period Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon man, our direct ancestors existed side by side!

Neanderthals were discovered in 1848, when the territory of Gibraltar fortress was found the skull of a Neanderthal

Neanderthals lived in a period known as the Middle Paleolithic archaeologists that began about 200 thousand years ago and ended about 40 thousand years ago. Early Neanderthals lived about 150 thousand years ago, in the last interglacial period. Their appearance was close appearance of modern man: a vertically elongated face, round neck, supraorbital torus somewhat mitigated, prominent forehead, in the dental system is less primitive features, brain volume is considerable (1400-1450 cm3). The most curious thing is that it is early Neanderthals are on the evolutionary ladder closest to modern humans - homo sapiens.

Classic Neanderthals lived during the last glaciation, ie, 80-35 thousand years ago. In contrast to earlier Neanderthals in classical type strongly developed frontal bone, nose broad, his head flattened on top, neck contour angular, has a cervical cushion. Chin projection either non-existent, or poorly marked. Classic had a brain size of between 1350-1700 cm3. There is no doubt that Neanderthals possessed considerable intellectual abilities. The maximum number of this species, scientists determined in 1 million specimens. Judging by the numerous finds, they are quite densely inhabited Europe and western Asia, the area of their habitat stretched far to the east - to Uzbekistan. Neanderthals were strong, massive body, their growth has averaged 155-165 cm. The lower limbs were shorter than modern humans.

Neanderthals are a culture, which is characterized by a wide variety of stone tools: ax, drums, scrapers, scrapers, knives, drills, stone tips. For a long time a major mystery remains the question of whether Neanderthals had language ability. Today we can say with confidence: yes, possessed! Neanderthals did not shun cannibalism, at least to his countrymen entertained friendly feelings and took care of them in the same way as do modern people. In addition, the Neanderthals had a specific medical knowledge and were able to consciously perform surgical actions. Later it turned out that they had the knowledge and herbal medicine!

What were these strange people - Neanderthals, so little resemblance to us and at the same time so close to us? Why we, not Neanderthals were "pinnacle of evolution"? And why, for what reason 30 thousand years ago, the rightful owners of the Middle Paleolithic suddenly disappeared from the face of the earth, freeing the way member of the species Homo sapiens - that is, you and I?