Did you know that the modern human being has his or her origin? To put it into perspective, modern man has evolved over the years. This is actually evident from the fossils that have been collected from the Middle East and all over the world. These fossils indicate that there are some ancient creatures that resemble the modern man that used to live many years ago. These include the Homo Sapien and the Neanderthal.
The latter are some of the archaic creatures that resemble mankind and lived on Earth 350000 and 40000 years ago. On the other hand, the homo sapien is quite modern and wise just like the modern man. The only difference is that they had not fully evolved. Otherwise, the Homo sapiens used to live on high ground and used to hunt from time to time. Since the Neanderthals lived alongside the Homo sapiens, most people still confuse the two. This article will outline the main differences between the two so that you can know them better.
Who is the Neanderthal Man?
To start with, the above-mentioned early man is also known as Homo sapiens neanderthalensis or Homo neanderthalensis. In fact, other people know the Neanderthal man as Neandertal man. Like we mentioned above, this is a member of the archaic human beings who used to live at least 300000 years ago. Later long, they got replaced by the early modern man commonly known as Homo sapiens.
It is imperative to note that the Neanderthals evolved in Europe and Asia. In fact, there is some fossil evidence that was found in Northern Spain and Kent indicating that the Neanderthal lineage was already established in Europe 400000 years ago. As far as the prevalence of these species is concerned, you will note that they were present in Eurasia, Wales, Portugal, and the Altai Mountains in Siberia.
Generally, the Neanderthal man was more adaptable and could live in cold environments in Siberia and England about 60000 years ago. Besides this, he could live in warm temperate woodlands in Italy and Spain about 120000 years ago. Since the Neanderthals had a robust structure and had shorter limbs than the Homo sapiens, they were able to conserve their body heat by a greater margin. This adaptation made them withstand the cold temperatures of Europe.
Besides being robust and short, the Neanderthals had a slightly bigger forehead. If you check the skull keenly, you will note that the forehead and the chin sloped steeply. Their nose was more protruding compared to that of the Homo sapiens. Finally, the Neanderthals had large brains.
Who are the Homo sapiens?
The above-mentioned term is a Latin word used to mean ‘wise man’. It refers to the species to which modern man belongs. The Homo sapiens evolved from Homo heidelbergensis. It is said that the Homo sapiens used to co-exist for many years in the Middle East and Europe with the Neanderthal man. Besides the Neanderthal man, the Homo sapiens are said to have lived with the Homo erectus in Asia. However, the only surviving human species is the Homo sapiens.
Although the Neanderthal got extinct, it is said that these species at some point interbred with the Homo sapiens. As a result, Neanderthal DNA can still be found in some people. Homo sapiens used to live with the Neanderthals up to 30000 years ago. Since then, the Neanderthals got extinct.
Unlike the Neanderthals, the Homo sapiens evolved in Africa 200000 years ago. However, the Homo sapiens did not remain in Africa for long, and more specifically East Africa, before moving out and going to other parts of the world such as Eurasia, where Neanderthals had already settled. All this took place 70000 and 80000 years ago.
Since the Neanderthals and the Homo sapiens were in direct competition with each other, the Neanderthals ended up being pushed to areas that had less favorable food and shelter. Consequently, they got extinct. Generally, resource completion and interbreeding made the Neanderthals to get into extinct.
The Main differences between Homo sapien and Neanderthal
For many years, most people have confused the Homo sapien for the Neanderthal and vice versa. However, these two early forms of mankind are different from each other in several ways. Some of these aspects include:
1. Body structure
You will note that the Neanderthals were short in height and small in size compared to Homo sapiens. This is one of the most visible differences between these two early forms of mankind. However, if you check their skulls and teeth, you will notice that those of the Neanderthals were bigger than those of the Homo sapiens.
2. Brain size
Like we mentioned above, Neanderthal’s brain was larger than that of the Homo sapien. This is because the Neanderthal has a larger skull than that of the Homo sapien.
3. Thickness of bones
Its imperative to note that Neanderthals had thicker bones than those of their counterparts. Besides this, these creatures had shorter limbs and thicker metacarpals than the Homo sapiens. Therefore, the Neanderthal was stronger than the Homo sapiens.
4. Nature of the Humerus
The Homo sapiens are known to have a symmetrical humerus while their counterparts had an asymmetrical humerus.
5. Chest shape
This is another morphological feature that separates these two early forms of mankind. For instance, the Homo sapiens had a normal chest while their counterparts had a barrel-shaped one.
6. Place of origin
Like we mentioned above, the Neanderthal used to live in Europe and Asia. However, Homo sapiens evolved in Africa and later moved to Asia and Europe later in life.
The Neanderthals were quite intelligent as they were able to use a number of sophisticated tools. They were also able to control fire and made and wore clothes. They were also able to hunt animals in the forest. Besides this, they were able to eat plant foods and made ornaments from time to time. However, the Homo sapien was more intelligent than the Neanderthals. You will note that the Homo sapiens invented the written language and even developed agriculture. This actually made the Homo sapiens to progress beyond the Stone Age.
8. Size of the eyes
The Neanderthal has larger eyes compared to Homo sapiens. This characteristic made them survive well in Europe, which is known to have a higher latitude than other places in the world. Although the light conditions in Europe were poor, the Neanderthal man could still see properly.
Besides having large eyes, the Neanderthal has larger ears than the Homo sapiens. Finally, the former had a more sensitive auditory perception than the Homo sapiens. However, the Homo sapiens were able to develop a better sense of smell, sight, and even hearing, thanks to skeletal adaptations.
9. Nature of the larynx
You will note that the Neanderthal’s larynx was raised and more significant than that of the Homo sapien.
10. Living vs. Extinct
One of the key differences between the Neanderthal and the Homo sapien is that the latter is the modern man who is living at the moment while the Neanderthal species got extinct.
It is true to say that both the Neanderthal and the Homo sapien have some history. From how they came into existence to how they evolved, there is so much to learn from these early forms of mankind. That said, it is important that you know what sets these two early forms of mankind apart. The good news is that this article has outlined a number of differences that can help you distinguish the two. Note these differences today, and you will no longer confuse the Neanderthal for a Homo sapien and vice versa.