Archaeologists have discovered the torso and squashed skull of a Neanderthal who lived about 70,000 years ago in what is now Iraqi Kurdistan. Heavy sediment flattened the skull (shown here).
This map shows the location of Shanidar Cave in Iraqi Kurdistan, where the Neanderthal remains were discovered.
The bones of the Neanderthal's left hand, shown here partially excavated from the sediment in Shanidar Cave.
Ribs and spine
The ribs and spine of the ancient Neanderthal: Based on the worn teeth, the Neanderthal was likely a middle-age to older adult.
The steep entrance to Shanidar Cave.
The view from Shanidar Cave, looking down on the valley of the Upper Zab River. This is the rugged landscape of northeastern Iraqi Kurdistan.
Left arm and ribs
The remains of the Neanderthal's left arm and ribs in Shanidar Cave.
The delicate bones of the Neanderthal's spinal column: This specimen is now on loan at the University of Cambridge, where it is being CT scanned and conserved with a special glue that protects the bones.
Research in motion
Study co-lead researcher Emma Pomeroy takes a short break at Shanidar Cave.
This illustration shows the possible burial position of the newly discovered Neanderthal, whose partial remains were found in Shanidar Cave. The gray stone behind the individual may be a grave marker.
Study senior author Graeme Barker, a professor in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge, sits in front of the newfound Neanderthal remains. Barker is holding a soil block that will be analyzed at Cambridge in England.
Part of Ralph Solecki's team that excavated the remains of the 10 Neanderthal men, women and children who were discovered in Shanidar Cave in the 1950s. Here, T. Dale Stewart (right) and Jacques Bordaz (left) move the remains of the so-called "flower burial" "en bloc" ("all together") from the cave. This block was later found to hold the partial remains of three more Neanderthals.
Solecki's colleagues carry the block containing the "flower burial" down from the cave. This block was then placed on top of a taxi and driven to Baghdad Museum for further study.
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Laura is the archaeology and Life's Little Mysteries editor at Live Science. She also reports on general science, including paleontology. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Scholastic, Popular Science and Spectrum, a site on autism research. She has won multiple awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association for her reporting at a weekly newspaper near Seattle. Laura holds a bachelor's degree in English literature and psychology from Washington University in St. Louis and a master's degree in science writing from NYU.