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© AMNH / Rod Mickens

Neanderthal skeleton

Since the first Homo neanderthalensis fossil was recognized in 1856, many hundreds more have been found, but scientists have yet to unearth a complete skeleton of this extinct hominid species. Instead, experts here at the American Museum of Natural History have created one by combining fossil casts from six separate specimens. Although this skeleton does not represent a single individual, it reveals a great deal about Neanderthals in general--especially about how these close relatives differ from modern humans.

Examine the Evidence: Neanderthal skeleton

At first glance, the Neanderthal skeleton might appear to be just a bulkier version of the modern human one. But a closer look reveals important differences.


  • 2-12d_neand_5_19_e.jpg

    © AMNH Exhibitions

    Neanderthal skeleton vs. modern human

    long, low braincase and double-arched browridge
  • flaring, funnel-shaped chest
  • flaring pelvis
  • robust fingers and toes


© AMNH / Denis Finnin

AMNH experts with complete Neanderthal skeleton

Modern human:

  • tall, rounded braincase and small, divided browridge
  • cylindrical, barrel-shaped chest
  • narrow pelvis
  • slender fingers and toes
Skeleton Staff

Experts at the American Museum of Natural History assembled the first complete Neanderthal skeleton using specimens from multiple individuals. The project took two years to complete.

American Museum of Natural History

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