Homo heidelbergensis (700,000 to 200,000 years ago.) by Sam_Wise, via Flickr. Photo of a bust in the National Museum of Natural History; Washington, D.C.. first discovered in 1908, near Heidelberg, Germany.
The Neanderthals or Neandertals are an extinct species of human in the genus Homo, possibly a subspecies of Homo sapiens. They are very closely related to modern humans, differing in DNA by only 0.3%, which however is twice that of the widest DNA gap found among contemporary humans. Old lifelike reconstruction of a Neanderthal man.
Neanderthals Were as Smart as Early Humans. Anthropologists have found that complex interbreeding and assimilation may have been responsible for their disappearance about 40,000 years ago, not the superiority of their humans. “Although many still search for a simple explanation and like to attribute the Neanderthal demise to a single factor, such as cognitive or technological inferiority, archaeology shows that there is no support for such interpretations.”
A new study has revealed that most prehistoric art was probably done by women, because the majority (75%) of handprints found in caves (like this one at Pech Merle, France) have proven to be made by females by digitally measuring the difference in length of the fingers. The ring & index fingers of women are about the same length, whereas the ring fingers of men tend to be longer. Photo by Jean Vertut.
Sex between Homo Sapiens and Neanderthals good for survival. When the "modern" humans left Africa they were exposed to new illnesses their Immune system couldn't fight off. On their way north they met and mated with Neanderthal humans. The Neanderthals had existed for 200 000 years and their immune system was adapted to the local circumstances. The "modern" humans received new genes that helped them survive in the new environment.