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Neanderthals May Have Been Taller Than Previously Thought

Monday, September 9, 2019

LE ROZEL, FRANCE—According to a New Scientist report, analysis of 257 fossilized footprints by a team of researchers led by Jérémy Duveau of France’s National Museum of Natural History suggests Neanderthals may have been taller than previously thought. The 80,000-year-old footprints, found in five layers of sediment in a creek bed in northwestern France, are thought to have been left by Neanderthals, since they are the only hominins known to have lived in Europe at the time. The prints are also wider than those usually made by modern humans. About 80 percent of the prints, made by 10 to 13 individuals, were found in a single layer of sediment. The sizes of these prints indicate the group was made up of mostly children as young as two and adolescents. Some of the largest prints at the site are thought to have been made by an individual who stood about five feet seven inches tall, about seven inches taller than most Neanderthals. To read about one of the longest-occupied Neanderthal sites, go to "A Traditional Neanderthal Home."

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