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Z Morphol Anthropol. 1998;82(1):1-12.

Body height, body mass and surface area of the Neanderthals.

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Trent University, Peterborough, ON, Canada.


Body size, expressed as height or stature, is an important determinant of many other biological variables. Thus, it is surprising that many textbooks portray a wrong picture of Neanderthal height as being "very short" or "just over 5 feet". Based on 45 long bones from maximally 14 males and 7 females, Neanderthals' height averages between 164 and 168 (males) resp. 152 to 156 cm (females). This height is indeed 12-14 cm lower than the height of post-WWII Europeans, but compared to Europeans some 20,000 or 100 years ago, it is practically identical or even slightly higher. Considering the body build of Neanderthals, new body weight estimates show that they are only slightly above the cm/weight or the Body Mass Index of modern Americans or Canadians. The calculation of the relative surface area (approximately 240-244 cm2/kg) is very low and supports earlier findings of a morphological and anatomical thermoregulatory adaptation to a cold climate in the Neanderthals.

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