I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
- Jul 19, 2004
- Out of Bounds
... This got me thinking that, after some 150,000 years were Neanderthals developing more gracile features and were the last of the Neanderthals physically almost indistinguishable from contemporaneous European Homo Sapiens the Cro-Magnon?
I'm not sure what the known range of Neanderthal cranial thicknesses is believed to have been. I'm also uncertain whether we have enough Neanderthal skulls from a wide enough swath of their era to reasonably determine such a range, much less any trend in thickness during the time they existed.
Now, having said that ...
It's widely presumed that Neanderthals and homo sapiens sapiens interbred, if only in particular places and times. If there were a trend toward thinner and / or more gracile Neanderthal skulls over the millennia, it may well have resulted from genetic input from the more modern form. I tend to think this would be the more likely explanation for any thinning / gracile trend.
However ... In principle there's no reason why Neanderthals couldn't have been evolving less robust skull structures on their own.