Why Humans Have Slender Faces and Neanderthals Don't

Laura Geggel

Neanderthals had protruding facial features because of the way their bodies deposited and dealt with bone, a new study finds. In Neanderthals, facial bone deposits continue into the teenage years, whereas in humans (Homo sapiens), bone removal during childhood leads to a flatter face, the researchers found. Bone in human faces has bone-absorbing cells on its outermost layers. The scientists also looked at four teenage hominin faces from the Sima de los Huesos site in north-central Spain, all dating to about 400,000 years ago. The finding shows that Neanderthals and the Sima fossils share a similar facial growth pattern, Lacruz said.

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