Nazca Skull--credits: Didier Descouens, Creative Commons. A deformed skull dating to between 200 B.C. and 100 B.C. and belonging to an individual of the Nazca culture, which flourished along the Peruvian coast.
A study of Neanderthal skulls suggests that they became extinct because they had larger eyes than our species. As a result, more of their brains were devoted to seeing in the long, dark nights in Europe, at the expense of high-level processing. By contrast, the larger frontal brain regions of Homo sapiens led to the fashioning of warmer clothes and the development of larger social networks. The study is published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
"Part of Shanidar 1's skull, showing the unusual wear on his front teeth. ... That 'Nandy' [as they called him at the dig] made himself useful around the hearth (two hearths were found very close to him) is evidenced by the unusual wear on his front teeth. It presumably indicates that in lieu of a right arm, he used his jaws for grasping, while manipulating with his good left arm and hand." Good description of the implications of these disabilities at the click-through.
Dederiyeh, Syria - 1993 - Discovered by a team led by Takeru Akazawa - Between 70,000 and 50,000 years old - Homo neanderthalensis This skull is from the skeleton of a two-year-old Neanderthal who grew at a rate similar to that of modern humans, with a long childhood. We can tell this because the leg bones of this child are about the same length as those of a modern two-year-old, indicating that this young. As childhood lengthened, parents devoted more time and energy to caring for the…