Sunday, 12 April 2015

The Ice Age - Long Lost Relatives

This gentleman looks down from a gallery of a museum in Germany.

Looks fairly ordinary, a bit craggy....

But he's actually more unusual than you might think.

Adult female Neanderthal skull

In the top photograph, it's not obvious, but our guy has a slightly different skull to modern humans.

Neanderthals lived during the Ice Age. 

They often took shelter from the ice, snow, and otherwise unpleasant weather in Eurasia’s plentiful limestone caves. 

Many of their fossils have been found in caves, leading to the popular idea of them as “cave men.”

Sadly we missed meeting these folk by around 40,000 years, a tiny blink of time in the history of the Earth.

Scientists have discovered that they used tools, buried their dead and controlled fire, among other intelligent behaviors.

They were first discovered in 1856, when a group of quarrymen discovered parts of a skeleton in the Neander Valley near Dusseldorf, Germany. 

They found 16 pieces of bone, including a skull, in a limestone cave

Thinking the bones belonged to a bear, the quarrymen gave them to local teacher Johan Karl Fuhlrott. 

The bones found their way to scientists, and it was realised that they were ancient human relatives.

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