10 Difference Between Homosapien And Neanderthal (With Pictures)



The Neanderthals are believed to have lived between roughly 350, 000 and 40,000 years ago, their populations spreading from Portugal in the west to the Altai Mountains in central Asia in east. They vanished from the fossil record when modern humans arrived in Europe.

The first fossil described as Neanderthal was first discovered in 1856 in the Feldhofer Cave of the Neander Valley, near Dusseldorf, Germany. The fossil was discovered by lime quarry workers, the fossil had a robust cranial vault with a massive arched brow ridge, minus the facial skeleton, and several limb bones. The limb bones were robustly built, with large articular surfaces on the ends and bone shafts that were bowed front to back.


Scientists have concluded that Neanderthals were not the primitive dimwits they are commonly portrayed to have been. Evidence has demonstrated that , Neanderthals made and used a diverse set of sophisticated tools, controlled fire, lived in shelter, made and wore clothing, were skilled hunters of large animals and also ate plant foods, and occasionally made symbolic and ornamental objects. There is evidence that Neanderthals deliberately buried their dead and even marked their graves with offerings such as flowers.  No other primates and no other earlier human species had practiced such complicated symbolic behavior.


Neanderthals are closest extinct human relative, they possessed unique features with many variations among individuals as far as head and facial characteristics are concern. Some defining features of their skulls include the large middle part of the face, angled cheek bones, low-vaulted cranium, prominent arched brow ridges, and huge orbital and nasal openings for humidifying and warming cold air.  Also it had a pronounced occipital region (the rear and base of the skull) which served to anchor the large neck musculature. Other features of the skull included:

  • The cranial capacity of Neanderthals was almost similar to or larger than that of modern humans.
  • The front teeth were larger than those in modern man, but molars and premolars were of similar size.
  • The lower jaw displayed a receding chin and was robustly built.
  • The mental foramen was placed farther back in Neanderthal than in modern man. Mental foramen is a small hole in the skull that allows nerves to reach the lower jaw.
  • The space between the last molar and the ascending edge of the lower jaw occurred in many Neanderthals.
  • There was less back curvature (lumbar lordosis) in Neanderthals.


Numerous evidences have suggested that, Homo sapien and Neanderthal brains are similar during the first year of life, however, the human brain begins more activity in neural circuitry. Although this doesn’t mean that humans, Neanderthal weren’t as intelligent as modern Homo sapiens, the brains of Homo sapiens developed to support higher-order functions such as creativity and communication.

However, there are some evidences though very few that have emerged to show that Neanderthals had their own creativity, but there is no evidence which shows that they had a language of their own.


The ancient DNA recovered from Denisova Mountain in Siberia and subsequent research on Neanderthal genetics and its relation to modern man have suggested that some Neanderthals may have had pale skin and red hair and that the origin of modern humans was a speciation event. Genetic evidence has pointed to the fact that Neanderthals lived in small isolated close-knit extended families. In these family groups, the males were closely related, which suggests that these groups were possibly patrilocal (females settled with the male’s relatives).

Homo sapien

Homo sapien

Homo is a Latin word for ‘human’  or ‘man’ and sapien is derived from a Latin word that means ‘wise’ or ‘astute’. Homo sapiens evolved in Africa from Homo heidelbergensis . They co-existed for a long time in Europe and the Middle East with the Neanderthals and possibly with Homo erectus in Asia and Homo florosiensis in Indonesia, but are now the only surviving human species. African fossils provide the best evidence for evolutionary transition from Homo sapiens and then to early modern Homo sapiens. Some of the key characteristic features of Homo sapiens include:

Height and Brain Size

  • Homo sapiens living today have an average brain size of about 1350 cubic centimeters which makes up 2.2% of the body weight.
  • Homo sapien (modern humans) have an average height of about 160 centimeters in females and 175 centimeters in males.

Limbs and Pelvis

  • Limb bones are thinner and less robust than earlier human species and indicate a reduction in muscle size from earlier humans.
  • Pelvis is narrower from side to side.
  • Legs are relatively long with arms.
  • Fingers and toe bones are straight and without the curvature.


  • Modern sapiens have a short base and a high braincase. Unlike the skull is broadest at the top. The fuller braincase also results in almost no post-orbital constriction or narrowing behind the eye sockets.
  • The back of the skull is rounded and indicates a reduction in neck muscles.
  • Brow ridge is limited and the forehead is taller
  • The face of homo sapien is reasonably small with a projecting nose bone.
  • The back of the skull is rounded and indicates a reduction in neck muscles.
  • Eye sockets are square rather than round.

Jaw and Teeth

  • Jaws are short, lightly build and have a protruding bony chin for added strength.
  • They usually do not have retromolar space between the last molar teeth and the jaw bone.
  • Teeth are relatively small when compared with those of earlier species.
  • Frontal premolar teeth in the lower jaw have two equal-sized cusps.

Also Read: Difference Between Homo erectus and Homo Sapien

Differences Between Homo sapien And Neanderthal In Tabular Form

Basis of Comparison   Homo Sapien Neanderthal
Description Homo sapien is the modern human being. Neanderthal is the archaic man.
Scientific Name Homo Sapien.   Homo Sapiens neanderthalensis.
Humerus Has symmetrical humerus.   Had asymmetrical humerus.
Existence A living species.   An extinct species.
Bones Soft bones.   Thicker bones.
Chest Shape Normal shaped chest.   Had a barrel-shaped chest.
Height Taller than Neanderthal. Shorter than homo sapien.  
Body size Smaller in body size. Larger in body size.
Metacarpals Relatively thinner metacarpals.   Had thicker metacarpals.
Limbs Long limbs. Short limbs.