Neanderthals happens to be the closest extinct relative. The defining features include skulls with large middle part of the face, angled cheek bones and a huge nose adapted to humidify and warm the cold dry air. The bodies were shorter and stockier as compared to the modern Homo sapiens which were another adaptation to the cold weather. Their brains were just as big as the modern man sometimes even larger in proportion to a larger body.
Neanderthals were very brawny as well as brainy and used a diverse set of complicated tools, were quite adept in making and wearing clothes, made symbolic or ornamental objects were skilled hunters of large animals and also ate plant foods. Such sophisticated and symbolic behaviors were not seen in any ancestors of humans in the past. This fact has been proved from time to time in archaeological studies.
Researchers have recently discovered a series of lines scratched into rock in a cave near the southwestern tip of Europe. It could be one more proof that Neanderthals were more intelligent and creative than previously thought.
The engravings inside the caves are the first known discovery of Neanderthal rock art. It proves for the first time that the ancestors of humans were not only intelligent but also had the capacity to express abstract ideas and expressions.
Paul Tacon, an expert in rock art at Australia’s Griffith University said, “It is the last nail in the coffin for the hypothesis that Neanderthals were cognitively inferior to modern humans. We will never know the meaning the design held for the maker or the Neanderthals who inhabited the cave but the fact that they were marking their territory in this way before modern humans arrived in the region has huge implications for debates about what it is to be human and the origin of art,”
The study, released Monday by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.