Skip to main content
  1. News
  2. Science & Space

New research shows you cannot judge a Neanderthal by his clavicle

See also

The historic adjudication of Neanderthal anatomy and body mass has been overturned by a new comprehensive comparison of the clavicles of Neanderthals, modern humans, and other extant species of Homo reported by Erik Trinkaus from Washington University, Trenton W. Holliday from Tulane University, and Benjamin M. Auerbach from the University of Tennessee in the March 10, 2014, edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers found that the longest clavicle (collarbone) found in any Neanderthal falls within the upper range of length of the clavicles of modern men. The clavicle length of the earliest known species of Homo had a similar range to modern man and Neanderthals.

The body mass of Neanderthals has been classically approximated based on the size of the longest Neanderthal clavicle known. Similarly, the breadth of existing Neanderthal pelvises has been assumed to be indicative of the general size and shape of all Neanderthals.

The researchers contend that their analysis makes the use of clavicle length as a measure of body mass and overall morphology in Neanderthals obsolete. The practice is almost a century old.

The researchers also note that when scaled to the relative size of individuals the assessment of Neanderthal body mass and shape based on the size of the upper arm bone is also incorrect.

Based on this research, scientists must again ponder what Neanderthals really looked like.



  •  Day 17
    Israel continues their ravaging bombardment on Gaza as the conflict wages on
  • MH17 victims arrive home
    40 bodies of the MH17 plane crash return to a somber homecoming in Holland
    Top News
  • Military advisers to Ukraine
    President Obama announces the deployment of military advisers to Ukraine
  • Bubonic plague in China
    A bubonic plague outbreak in Yumen prompts China to quarantine the city
    World News
  • Air Algierie disappearance
    A flight headed from Burkina Faso to Algeria disappears from radar over Mali
  • Windows Phone training portal
    Microsoft launches Windows Phone training portal in attempt to woo consumers

Related Videos:

  • Buzz Aldrin and the American flag on the moon
    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="//;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>
  • Orbital Sciences rocket brings supplies and experiments to space station
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518318477" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url=""></div>
  • Liftoff Apollo 11
    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="//;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>