Neanderthal life not especially risky, skull analysis shows

NEW YORK (AP) — Life as a Neanderthal was no picnic, but a new analysis says it was no more dangerous than what our own species faced in ancient times.

The study challenges the common view that our evolutionary cousins lived especially risky lives. It was released Wednesday by the journal Nature.

Neanderthal life was probably riskier than what people face today in industrialized nations. But the researchers say it makes more sense to compare Neanderthals to our own species in ancient times. That’s when both groups faced similar environments and lifestyles.

The researchers reviewed studies of fossils to examine rates of skull injuries. They found about the same rate in Neanderthals as in ancient members of our own species.