Neanderthal Quiz



9 Questions

What is the average height of male Neanderthals?

What is the average height of female Neanderthals?

What is the estimated time of the Neanderthal/human split?

What is the theory for Neanderthal extinction that involves the combination of demographic factors, competitive replacement, interbreeding and assimilation with modern humans, climate change, and disease?

What is the average weight of male Neanderthals?

What is the name of the valley where the first identified Neanderthal specimen was found?

What is the estimated time of the possible interbreeding between Neanderthals and modern humans?

What is the theory for Neanderthal extinction that involves small population size and inbreeding?

What is the average weight of female Neanderthals?


Neanderthals were an extinct species or subspecies of archaic humans who lived in Eurasia until about 40,000 years ago. The reasons for their extinction are disputed. Theories for their extinction include demographic factors such as small population size and inbreeding, competitive replacement, interbreeding and assimilation with modern humans, climate change, disease, or a combination of these factors. Neanderthals had a sophisticated technology that included the Mousterian stone-tool industry and the ability to create fire, build cave hearths, make adhesive birch bark tar, craft clothes, weave, go seafaring through the Mediterranean, use medicinal plants, treat severe injuries, store food, and use various cooking techniques such as roasting, boiling, and smoking. They lived in a high-stress environment with high trauma rates, and about 80% died before the age of 40. The total population of Neanderthals remained low, proliferating weakly harmful gene variants and precluding effective long-distance networks. There is evidence of interbreeding between Neanderthals and modern humans, possibly occurring 316,000 to 219,000 years ago, but more likely 100,000 years ago and again 65,000 years ago. Neanderthals also appear to have interbred with Denisovans, a different group of archaic humans, in Siberia. The average Neanderthal man stood around 165 cm (5 ft 5 in) and women 153 cm (5 ft 0 in) tall, similar to pre-industrial modern humans. The braincases of Neanderthal men and women averaged about 1,600 cm3 (98 cu in) and 1,300 cm3 (79 cu in) respectively, which is considerably larger than the modern human average. The Neanderthal skull was more elongated and the brain had smaller parietal lobes and cerebellum, but larger temporal, occipital, and orbitofrontal regions. Neanderthals are named after the Neandertal Valley in which the first identified specimen was found. The vernacular name of the species in German is always Neandertaler ("inhabitant of the Neander Valley"), whereas Neandertal always refers to the valley. The valley itself was named after the late 17th century German theologian and hymn writer Joachim Neander, who often visited the area.Neanderthals may have evolved through a two-phase or accretion process following the Neanderthal/human split, with the latter suggesting four stages of evolution. The Neanderthal/human split has been estimated to have occurred between 236,000-190,000 or 473,000-381,000 years ago, with the split occurring after the Neanderthal/Denisovan split. Neanderthals are known to have lived throughout Europe and Asia, with the highest density of sites found in southwestern France. The average height of male Neanderthals was 164-168 cm, and for females was 152-156 cm, with an average weight of 77.6 kg for males and 66.4 kg for females. Neanderthals had wider and barrel-shaped rib cages, wider pelvises, proportionally shorter forearms and forelegs, longer and thicker neck vertebrae, and a more pronounced chest and invaginated spine. Neanderthals had less developed chins, sloping foreheads, and longer, broader, more projecting noses, with a less globular skull and an occipital bun. Neanderthals may have had a lower fertility rate and higher infant mortality rate compared to modern humans, and their population may have remained consistently low due to the "Boserupian Trap."An Overview of Neanderthals

  • Neanderthals had a different facial structure compared to modern humans, with mid-facial prognathism, larger eyeballs, and a larger jaw.

  • Their braincase was larger than modern humans, with a unique "en bombe" shape and internal differences in brain regions.

  • Neanderthals likely had lighter skin due to low sunlight exposure, but eye and hair color varied.

  • They likely had a higher caloric intake than modern humans, but the assumption of higher basal metabolic rates is disputed.

  • Traumatic injury was common among Neanderthals, with evidence of healed injuries in 79-94% of specimens.

  • Inbreeding led to a reduced population's ability to filter out harmful mutations, potentially causing birth defects.

  • Neanderthals lived in sparsely distributed groups, averaging 10 to 30 individuals, and likely moved between caves seasonally.

  • Children were weaned after 2.5 years, and bone trauma suggests they were put to work at a young age.

  • Neanderthals engaged in interpersonal violence and were subject to infectious diseases and parasites.

  • Some Neanderthal sites were used for over 100 years, and open-air settlements suggest mobility between cave and open-air bases.

  • There is evidence of cultural practices such as burial of the dead and the creation of tools and art.

  • Neanderthals likely had language abilities and may have had a complex social structure with division of labor.Neanderthal Life and Society

  • Neanderthals inhabited a range of environments, but open-air sites were likely used for slaughtering and butchering rather than living spaces.

  • The first-known Neanderthal family, consisting of six adults and five children, was discovered in the Chagyrskaya Cave in the Altai Mountains of southern Siberia in 2022.

  • Canadian ethnoarchaeologist Brian Hayden estimated that a self-sustaining Neanderthal population avoiding inbreeding would consist of about 450-500 individuals and would interact with 8-53 other bands.

  • Genetic analysis indicates there were at least three distinct geographical groups of Neanderthals: Western Europe, the Mediterranean coast, and east of the Caucasus, with some migration among these regions.

  • Neanderthals engaged in inter-group conflict, as evidenced by skeletons with injuries.

  • Neanderthals likely had a division of labor, with men hunting and women and children foraging, as indicated by tooth-wearing patterns.

  • Neanderthals may have worn decorative clothing or jewelry to display elevated status in the group, and high-ranking members may have received elaborate burials.

  • Neanderthals were apex predators and hunted predominantly what was abundant within their immediate surroundings, with steppe-dwelling communities subsisting almost entirely on meat from large game.

  • Neanderthals also gathered edible plant and mushroom remains and exploited marine resources on the Iberian, Italian, and Peloponnesian Peninsulas.

  • Neanderthals likely employed a wide range of cooking techniques, such as roasting, and may have been able to heat up or boil soup, stew, or animal stock.

  • Neanderthals likely cured and preserved large amounts of meat before winter set in, as evidenced by the 23 red deer, 6 ibexes, 3 aurochs, and 1 roe deer hunted in a single autumn hunting season at Grotte du Lazaret, France.

  • Neanderthal populations may have formed macro-bands that functioned much like those of low-density hunter-gatherer societies, encompassing up to 800 people and maintaining strong alliances for mating networks or to cope with leaner times and enemies.


Test your knowledge about our extinct cousins, the Neanderthals, with this fascinating quiz! Discover the unique physical and cultural characteristics of these archaic humans, how they lived and survived, and the reasons for their eventual extinction. Are you ready to delve into the world of Neanderthals and challenge your understanding of human evolution? Take this quiz now to find out!

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