Neanderthal Height: How Did They Measure Up?
Updated on February 27, 2024
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Neanderthal Height: How Did They Measure Up?
GroupAverage Height
Neanderthal Males5 ft 5 in – 5 ft 6 in (164-168 cm)
Neanderthal Females5 ft – 5 ft 1 in (152-156 cm)
Pre-Industrial European Males5 ft 5 in (165 cm)
Pre-Industrial European Females5 ft (153 cm)
Possible Maximum Neanderthal Height5 ft 9 in (175 cm)

Neanderthals, a species closely related to modern humans, had average heights that were somewhat shorter than the average height of post-World War II Europeans but comparable to or slightly taller than Europeans from 20,000 or 100 years ago.

The average height for Neanderthal males was between 5 ft 5 in (164 cm) and 5 ft 6 in (168 cm). For females, it was between 5 ft (152 cm) and 5 ft 1 in (156 cm).

Neanderthal Height: How Did They Measure Up? 2

These measurements indicate that the common portrayal of Neanderthals as “very short” or “just over 5 feet” is inaccurate.

In comparison, the average height of pre-industrial modern Europeans was similar, with men standing around 5 ft 5 in (165 cm) and women around 5 ft (153 cm).

This similarity in stature suggests that Neanderthals were well adapted to their environments, with their robust builds being an effective adaptation for living in the cold climates of Europe.

Moreover, the discovery of numerous Neanderthal footprints at a site in Le Rozel, France, suggested that Neanderthals might have been taller than previously thought, with some footprints indicating individuals who could have been as tall as 5 ft 9 in (175 cm), which is the average height of a man in the USA today.

Despite their robust build and slightly shorter stature compared to modern humans, Neanderthals were highly capable and intelligent, with adaptations allowing them to thrive in the diverse and often harsh environments of Europe and parts of Asia for hundreds of thousands of years before disappearing around 40,000 years ago.

Updated on February 27, 2024
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7 sources cited
Updated on February 27, 2024
  1. Body height, body mass and surface area of the Neanderthals.” PubMed.
  2. Homo Neanderthalensis.” Rowan University.
  3. Who were the Neanderthals?” Natural History Museum.
  4. Neanderthal.” Wikipedia.
  5. Who Were the Neanderthals?” National Geographic.
  6. Ancient footprints show Neanderthals may have been taller than thought.” New Scientist.
  7. Neanderthal Anatomy.” Wikipedia.
Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad
Content Contributor
Angela is a full-time digital content manager and editor for Know Your DNA. She also contributes freelance articles to several local and international websites when she has the time. She's always been a voracious believer in finding the truth and ensuring the science is sound.