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===The First Europeans===
<i>Homo neanderthalensis</i>, usually just known by the abbreviated term “Neanderthal,” inhabited the Earth, primarily in Europe, but also parts of Asia and north Africa, from about 400,000 to 30,000 years ago. They were once thought to have been the final step in the evolutionary ladder, but today anthropologists believe that although closely related to modern humans, with
the average modern European and Asian having 1% to 4% Neanderthal DNA, they were not direct ancestors. Research now indicates that the Neanderthals emerged from a common ancestor not long before modern humans and can be specifically tied to a cave in Spain about 400,000 years ago. After emerging as a distinct species, the Neanderthals demonstrated superior intelligence, which was seen in their advanced tool making culture, allowing them to be the dominant species in Europe and parts of Asia for more than 200,000 years.
===<i>Homo erectus</i> and <i>Homo heidelbergensis</i>===