Trinkaus, Erik Department of Anthropology, Washington University, Saint Louis, Missouri.
Last reviewed:September 2016
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A group of late archaic humans (Homo neanderthalensis) from Europe, southwest Asia, and central Asia that immediately preceded the first modern humans in those regions. The closest evolutionary relatives of modern humans are the Neandertals (also spelled Neanderthals). Most researchers place these archaic humans in their own species, Homo neanderthalensis (Fig. 1), emphasizing the differences between them and modern humans. Still, some investigators place them within the species Homo sapiens, recognizing their close affinities to modern humans. The Neandertals have been estimated by radiocarbon dating (a method of obtaining age estimates on organic materials) to have lived from approximately 300,000 to 35,000–30,000 years ago. See also: Anthropology; Early modern humans; Neandertal DNA; Neandertal genome; Neanderthal extinction
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