Do you ever wonder how we compare with people from bygone eras? How about 40,000 years ago or 430,000 years ago?
Neanderthals were around from about 430,000 years ago to 40,000 years ago. That may seem quite distant, but 2% of our DNA is Neanderthal. We might think of them as “cavemen,” but they were actually very intelligent and accomplished humans living in a very harsh environment. Their brain size ranged from 1,200 cubic centimeters (cm3) to 1,750 cm3.
Homo sapiens appeared about 300,000 years ago in Africa and were found to have lived in southwestern France 40,000 years ago. These European Homo sapiens were originally called Cro-Magnons. Their brains were about 1,600 cm3 and they were highly talented in hunting, crafting tools, painting, and wood carvings. Both Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons buried their dead.
For perspective, today an average man’s brain is 1,260 cm3 and 1,130 cm3 for a women.