At some point the neanderthal and modern human lineages diverged. I'm not sure what exactly their most common recent ancestor was (I see some sources suggesting homo heidelbergensis), but in any case I'm interested in the innovative/apomorphic features of neanderthals relative to that MRCA. What new features did they have, and what existing features changed most?

In particular I am not asking how neanderthals differ from modern humans.

This question is partially inspired by popular science pieces (e.g., Human Hands More Primitive than Chimp Hands) discussing human hands, which are essentially basal, vs. chimpanzee hands which are less similar to the common ancestor.

  • $\begingroup$ Two issues here: 1) What features are you talking about? Morphological trait or Ecological niche? 2) You are asking for a species comparison but you don't want the comparison to be done with modern humans. You who should the neanderthals be compared to? To the MRCA? If this the case you are just asking how the neanderthals evolved since they split with modern humans, right? $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Mar 19 '16 at 15:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Remi.b: 1) Morphological traits and 2) comparison with the MRCA, and yes -- just asking how they changed since they split. I suppose for #1 the traits will relate to their ecological niche and so that information might also be useful. $\endgroup$ – Charles Mar 19 '16 at 16:53

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