noun, plural: Neanderthals
Hominid that used to live across Europe and the Middle East 28,000 years ago.
The name is derived from the place (i.e. the Neander valley in Germany) the fossilized skeletal remains were excavated in 1856. Many fossils from this hominid group have been found since.
The Neanderthals are believed to have lived concurrently with the early ancestors of modern human beings. However, their existence was cut short probably due to the extreme conditions they dealt with. Hence, they became extinct while modern human beings persisted to exist, survived, and spread.
The taxonomic position of Neanderthals was obscure. Some scientists think that they are a subspecies of Homo sapiens, hence are called Homo sapiens neanderthalensis. Others believe that they are distinct species, hence they are called Homo neanderthalensis.