Illustration by Mauricio Antón for the permanent exhibition of the Altamira National Museum and Research Center. It depicts two Neanderthals standing as though talking to one another, in an arid landscape. Between 200,000 and 28,000 BCE, Europe and the Middle East were inhabited by Neanderthals, who lived in caves and shelters as well as out in the open. These people had an anatomy that was similar to that of today's humans, but with a more elongated skull, a large cranial capacity, a less prominent forehead with a marked supraorbital ridge and a smaller, almost non-existent chin. They were slightly shorter than we are and more robustly-built, with a less well developed musculature. These groups of humans enjoyed a considerable degree of social organization: they had articulated speech, took care of their sick and elderly and buried their dead.