Were Neanderthals substantially stronger than modern humans?

I seem to recall reading that Neanderthals were supposed to be much stronger than modern humans. Is this true? If so, what led anthropologists to this conclusion?

Thanks in advance for any information that you can give me.

Built like a neanderthal

Very interesting!

Basically, Neanderthal fossil remains indicate that they had a more “robust” body frame, whereas modern humans are more “gracile.”

Anyone else curious what’s lurking in the shadows of that illustration? :dubious:

It’s worth noting that the article opens with an error:

And I’m not talking about the spelling of “Neanderthal.” Current thinking is that Neanderthals are not our ancestors.

After reading the entire article, it looks like that first sentence is just for effect. The author refers to the Neanderthals as our evolutionary cousins, and specifies that we displaced them, not that we descended from them.

I read quite recently a book on Neanderthals that mentioned that their muscular structure gave them a vastly better ability to throw than us, for all it’s worth.

But Cro Magnon kicked their ass, evolutionarily speaking.

Why were there two separate species? Where either shift happen? And why did Cro Magnum win?

Speciation happens all the time, and Neanderthals left Africa roughly about half a million years earlier then we did. Africa still has the largest genetic variety just amongst modern humans - which is not that surprising since we all came from there.

As to why we won, I don’t want to guess. There are probably people here who know a lot more than I do - though from what I gather it isn’t a settled debate.

ETA: Cro Magnon is us - Homo Sapiens.

Given some folks I’ve seen, I vote that we interbred. Given human behavior, we probably killed them and ate them.

That seems odd, because last I heard there was no evidence that neanderthals made throwing weapons of any sort. All their weapons were appear to have been stabbing spears, hand axes, clubs and so forth. In fact that method of hunting is the reason usually given for why they were so strong and why they suffered so many injuries compared to modern humans. They basically went mano a mano with their prey.

It’s hard to reconcile a hunting method that never made use of throwing weapons with a claim that they had a much better throwing ability.

I’ve also seen analyses that indicated that Neanderthal muscle attachments were much more similar than that of the other apes, being located a long way form the joint. That arrangement provides a lot of force, but at the expence of both speed and fine control.

Chimps throw shit at the zoo. I wonder how difficult is the step from throwing fecal matter to protect your harem to throwing a rock to kill a rabbit.

Pretty damn difficult I’d think. I have never heard of any other ape throwing weapons with an intent to kill. The other apes certainly throw stuff at predators, but form what I’ve seen they don’t seem to care what they throw. They’ll try to throw leaves or grass just as readily as rocks and sticks. That indicates that it is being done to confuse and intimidate rather than to cause harm.

That in turn make it a pretty big mental leap to the idea that you can obtain food from throwing things. Not to mention the physiolgical changes needed to both the brain and the body to make throwing an efficient method of hunting.

I suspect it’s a bigger leap than you imagine.

Actually, from the “Built Like A Neanderthal” article linked above, it goes into quite a lot of detail as to why Homo Sapiens displaced Neanderthals. In a nutshell, while we both had brains about the same size, the robust physique of the Neanderthal required much more energy (=food) than our frail frames. Additionally, we store fat better. When food became scarce, humans were able to survive on less, and our reliance on intelligence and resulting leaps in technology (bow and arrow, for example) allowed us to get our food with less effort.

So, basically, we won the evolutionary battle by being fat and lazy.