Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Neandertal

1. modern spelling of the archaic Neanderthal. Technically, the original binomen Homo neanderthalensis was spelled (in 1856) with the thal suffix (meaning valley), and by the rules of nomenclature the original spelling must be carried forward whenever the binomen is used. As this leads to much confusion, both versions are still common in the professional literature.

2. Any member of a regional population of archaic Homo sp. found in Europe and the Middle East, dating from approximately 200-135 to 29 kya. Neandertals are characterized culturally by their Mousterian (and Châtelperronian) tool kit, and physically by their large and especially wide and flat braincases, double-arched tori over each eye, prognathous faces with large noses, special occipital features, and certain dental specializations. Their geographic distribution was limited to Europe and the Middle and Near East.

See Homo neanderthalensis, Homo sapiens neanderthalensis and preneandertal hypothesis.

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