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Cro-Magnon Man is the name informally given by anthropologists to the first anatomically modern human inhabitants of Europe. It does not refer, however, to any specific species, subspecies, cultural or archaeological phase. Scientists prefer the term "European Early Modern Humans" (EEMH). Cro-Magnon existed between roughly 10,000 and 45,000 years ago.[1]

Popular imagination and definition[edit]

In popular imagination, they are often grouped with Neanderthal man as "cavemen"; however modern humans and Neanderthals were distinct.

Cro-Magnon is not a scientific definition; the term simply lumps together all European hominids that appear to be the same species as modern humans.[2]

Brain size and intelligence[edit]

Evolution of the shape, size, and contours of the human (Homo) skull

At least some Cro-Magnon had larger brain cases than average modern humans but scientists can say nothing one way or the other as to whether their brains were as efficient as modern human brains. They made tools from antler and bone as well as other materials and had specialized tools for making clothes and engraving. Cro-Magnon also produced different types of artwork.[3][4]

The achievements of Cro-Magnon were somewhat comparable to what modern human hunter-gatherers can do and Cro-Magnon went through life doing hunter-gatherer things for thousands and thousands of years.

But then, about 10,000 years ago, at the start of the Neolithic Revolution, people started getting exciting new ideas.

  1. People worked out how to grow their own plants
  2. People domesticated animals

Once those trendy innovations came up scientists stop calling them Cro-Magnon and started calling them fully modern humans.[note 1]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. Those humans who developed animal domestication, agriculture and metallurgy all during the last 10,000 years might have been more intelligent than those who over 35,000 years or 110,000 years did not get beyond hunter-gatherer existence. Scientists have insufficient data to prove or disprove this.