Homo neanderthalensis

1983

Homo neanderthalensis – appeared 200 – 250 kya and disappeared 40 kya. Neanderthals, named after the Neander Valley in Germany where the first fossils were recovered, spread across Europe and into Britain. Evidence of their occupation has been found in Pontnewydd Cave, Wales, in Essex and off the Norfolk coast. Neanderthals were long characterised by brutish and exaggerated features and excessive body hair, making them the archetypal ‘caveman’ of Victorian popular culture. This has been dispelled by evidence that Neanderthals possessed the capacity for abstract thought – in the form of art, deliberate burial, tool making and rituals.