Neanderthals reigned throughout Northern Europe about 250,000 years ago, and then mysteriously disappeared about 30,000 years ago.
The first Homo sapiens arrived in Europe from Africa about 40,000 years ago, and within the next 10,000 years the Neanderthals were gone. New research based on the genetic mapping of human and Neanderthal genes has found that early Homo sapiens (humans) and Neanderthals mated, which led to the extinction of the Neanderthals.
Today, the modern human has anywhere from 1- 4% Neanderthal genes, still delivering some Neanderthal strengths and characteristics, such as immunity, that we still benefit from today.
Interestingly, the Neanderthals, who were some of the earliest hunter gatherers, were much stronger, more muscular and possessed slightly bigger brains compared to early humans who migrated out of Africa much later than the Neanderthal.
The first Homo sapiens that arrived in Europe had survived in Africa by persistence hunting their prey, which is basically running down an animal to exhaustion. On average each hunt was a 19 mile chase.
These first Homo sapiens who absorbed the so called less evolved Neanderthal race evolved to carry slightly smaller brains and bodies. Along with these changes came tools, culture, and art that were considerably more advanced than those of the Neanderthals.
Modern humans around the globe still carry Neanderthal genes – ranging from very small amounts, as attributed to those of darker skinned African descent, to upwards of 4%, as attributed to those of lighter skinned European descent.