Once the traditional anthropomorphic approach is put aside, and it is acknowledged that human physiology and behaviour are a one-off case, Neanderthal physiology can be seen in its correct evolutionary context.
Neanderthals evolved from the same ancestors as gorillas, chimps and bonobos, who still look like classic primates after ten million years of evolution. Neanderthals almost certainly were not hairless or artistic. They didn’t have Angelina Jolie lips, or clear white eyes, or even satin-smooth skin.
A more realistic Darwinian view argues that, unless powerful and persistent evolutionary forces rendered it absolutely necessary for survival to abandon their ancestral primate appearance, Neanderthals would have continued to look like tall, bipedal apes. After all, the core aspects of primate physiology had been tried, tested and continually refined by
natural selection over at least ten million years.
I’ve nominated two major factors that caused Neanderthal physiology to diverge from primate orthodoxy: their predator lifestyle (including nocturnality) and the icy European climate they evolved in. In all other respects, the ancestral form would tend to prevail. [source THEMANDUS]