Neanderthals were keen on innovation and technology and developed tools all on their own, scientists say.
A new study challenges the view that our close relatives could advance only through contact with Homo sapiens.
The team says climate change was partly responsible for forcing Neanderthals to innovate in order to survive.
The research is set to appear in the Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory in December.
“Basically, I am rehabilitating Neanderthals,” said Julien Riel-Salvatore, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Colorado in Denver, who led the seven-year study.
“They were far more resourceful than we have given them credit for.”