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First Neanderthal family portrait revealed by DNA discovery
Featured Image Credit: Tom Bjorklund/Science Photo Library/Alamy Stock Photo

First Neanderthal family portrait revealed by DNA discovery

We now have our first ever Neanderthal 'family portrait' after DNA led to an amazing discovery

We've finally been able to get our first look at a Neanderthal 'family portrait' after an incredible DNA discovery.

Once upon a time back before iPhones, crossword puzzles or even books, humans and Neanderthals walked the earth together.

We know that humans (homo sapiens) and Neanderthals (homo neanderthalensis) managed to live together for thousands of years and could even had children together, but eventually all the Neanderthals died out.

While the last of the Neanderthals died out thousands of years ago (score one for team human I guess), we have been putting in a lot of work to figure out what our former neighbours used to be like.

Now a team has been able to create a 'family portrait' of a group of Neanderthals after studying the remains of 13 individuals and working out that some of them were related to each other.

This is what we think the Neanderthal father and daughter could have looked like.
Tom Bjorklund

This amazing discovery was done by DNA and worked out that the bodies belonged to a close knit family group.

It's so important because while we've learned a lot about Neanderthals over the years, we still don't really know how they lived because people of that time were notoriously lax about taking notes.

While it would have been really helpful if Ugg and Dug had written a few things down about how the neighbours lived, this discovery of a family group together sheds some light on how Neanderthal society worked.

The discovery of the bones was made in Chagyrskaya Cave, Siberia, and a team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

In addition to the Neanderthal bones uncovered they also found evidence of many tools made by the cave's inhabitants and worked out that they were able to hunt animals in the area.

Neanderthals and humans actually lived side by side.
The Granger Collection/Alamy Stock Photo

As for cracking the question of what wiped out the Neanderthals, it was actually a mixture of things and it wasn't all our fault as last year some of their bones were discovered and it looks like they were killed by hyenas.

While that might be the case, being outcompeted in the race for resources by humans was certainly a factor in the Neanderthals going the way of the Dinosaurs and the Dodo.

Still, even if we did play a bit of a part in them ending up being wiped out it's nice that lots of scientific research is going into working out how these fascinating communities from thousands of years ago lived together.

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Topics: World News, News, Science