Neanderthal infants’ skeletons were wide and stocky, just like Neanderthal adults, a new study suggests.
A team of researchers from Europe, Russia and the US analysed width and length of arm, leg and pelvic bones from two neonate Neanderthal (Homo neanderthalensis) skeletons: one from Mezmaiskaya in Russia and another from Le Moustier in France.
They then compared the measurements to recent skeletons of African and European-American babies of a comparable age.
Compared to modern human skeletons, the Neanderthals had large hips relative to thigh-bone length, suggesting they were stocky from birth. The Mezmaiskaya skeleton also had a longer pubis and wider long bones than modern baby skeletons.
In short, the baby Neanderthals looked like smaller versions of adults, the researchers write: “Neanderthals largely look like Neanderthals, regardless of age.”
The work was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.