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Neanderthals in Gibraltar

Gibraltar Tourist Information

Gibraltar is known for its significant association with Neanderthals, an extinct hominid species closely related to modern humans. Here's some information about Neanderthals in Gibraltar:

  1. Discovery of Neanderthal Remains: The first discovery of Neanderthal remains in Gibraltar occurred in the mid-19th century when a skull and other bones were found in Forbes' Quarry, a limestone rock shelter. These findings marked one of the earliest identifications of Neanderthal remains anywhere in the world.

  2. Gibraltar Woman: One of the most famous Neanderthal specimens found in Gibraltar is known as the "Gibraltar Woman" or "Forbes' Quarry Woman." This discovery, made in 1848, consisted of a female Neanderthal skull.

  3. Gibraltar 1: In 1848, the Gibraltar Woman's skull was joined by another significant discovery known as "Gibraltar 1." This find was a well-preserved adult Neanderthal skull, making it one of the most important early finds in the study of Neanderthals.

  4. Devil's Tower and Vanguard Cave: Other Neanderthal remains have been discovered in Gibraltar's Devil's Tower and Vanguard Cave. These sites have yielded a wealth of archaeological and paleontological evidence about the lives of Neanderthals who inhabited the area.

  5. Habitat and Lifestyle: The presence of Neanderthals in Gibraltar is associated with a period of the last Ice Age, around 30,000 to 40,000 years ago. The local environment would have been significantly different from today, with a cooler and more arid climate. Neanderthals in Gibraltar would have hunted, gathered, and used the natural resources available to them.

  6. Cultural Significance: Gibraltar's Neanderthal discoveries have played a crucial role in understanding the evolutionary history of hominids. These findings helped confirm the existence of a separate human species, Neanderthals, who shared a common ancestor with Homo sapiens (modern humans) and eventually went extinct.

  7. Ongoing Research: Gibraltar's status as a significant Neanderthal site continues to attract researchers from various fields, including archaeology, anthropology, and paleontology. Ongoing excavations and studies in the area contribute to our understanding of Neanderthal behavior, their interactions with other hominids, and their eventual disappearance.

  8. Gibraltar Museum: The Gibraltar Museum houses many of the Neanderthal remains and artifacts discovered on the Rock of Gibraltar. It offers exhibits and educational resources about Gibraltar's rich prehistoric past, including its Neanderthal heritage.

Overall, Gibraltar's Neanderthal history is a crucial chapter in the story of human evolution and provides valuable insights into the lives of our distant relatives who once inhabited this region.