As the northern hemisphere wiggles out from Winter's chilling grasp, most humans dwelling there flock outdoors to welcome the emerging warmth.
A neanderthal, however, might already think it's getting a tad balmy...
While we can't know for sure what one of Homo sapiens' closest relatives would think of the rising temperatures, anthropologists are fairly certain that Neanderthals were quite acclimated to colder climates. Remarkably well, in fact.
"It is well-accepted that Neanderthals appear to be the most cold-adapted of known fossil hominin groups," a team of anthropologists recently wrote in the journal Evolutionary Anthropology.
That team, comprised of Dr. Cara Ocobock, a biological anthropologist at Notre Dame, Dr. Sarah Lacy, a paleoanthropologist at California State University Dominguez Hills, and Alexandra Niclou, a PhD candidate in biological anthropologist at Notre Dame, dove into the published research to amalgamate the current state of knowledge concerning Neanderthal cold adaptations.
"Neanderthals display a potentially unique suite of characteristics that enabled them to survive and thrive in cold, glacial climates," they found.
Consider that while we Homo sapiens spent much of our time on Earth in Africa around the equator, Neanderthals dwelled further north, predominantly in dry, and even polar, climates, as far as northern France, through mountainous Uzbekistan, and even to southern Siberia. In these often harsh environments, they had hundreds of thousands of years to adapt morphologically, physiologically, and behaviorally.
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