Neanderthals walked with an upright posture just like modern humans, according to a new analysis.
Over the years, reconstructions of ancient humans have varied enormously, with the gradual ascent from hunched creatures to modern people still seen as the classic depiction of human evolution.
But the idea of Neanderthals as straight-backed fits with a wider image that is developing of our prehistoric ancestors as sophisticated contemporaries rather than knuckle-dragging dimwits.
[N]ew work undertaken by Dr [Martin] Haeusler, based on a well-known skeleton unearthed at La Chapelle-aux-Saints in France, found the curves of its ancient spine closely matched those of modern humans.
Neanderthals still had some physical difference compared to modern humans, including shorter legs and stockier bodies.
However, they were similar enough to breed with our ancestors, something that is clear from the roughly 4 per cent of their genetic material non-African people have inherited from Neanderthals.
According to Dr Haeusler, his latest work adds to a growing body of evidence showing that in everything from anatomy to culture, these ancient humans were our equals.
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