Homo sapiens neanderthalensis
The Devon Karst Research Society.

The Homepages for the
Cattedown, Plymouth, Devon, England, U.K.

KRAPINA.(Republika Hrvatska) Special Link Page

Text revised on 24 March 2009.

Ostaci lobanje Krapinskog čoveka. (Crtež: Sead Čerkez, 1979.)
Remains of Skulls of Krapina Man. (Drawing: Sead Čerkez, 1979.)
The primary function of this page is to briefly compare the Cattedown discoveries with those at Krapina in Croatia and to illustrate the differences in appearance between the anatomical structure of Homo sapiens neaderthalensis, such as those found in a cave at Hušnjak Hill at Krapina in Croatia in 1899 and those of anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) such as those found in Worth's Cattedown Bone Cave at Cattedown, Plymouth, UK in 1887.
The circumstances surrounding the discovery and subsequent excavation of the fossil hominin bones at Cattedown are adequately detailed in other Sections of these Webpages.
and Comparison of the Circumstances, Find-sites and Finds at (a) Krapina (Croatia) and (b) Cattedown (UK) :

1a...Krapina in rural north-western Croatia was the first site in that country to be associated with the remains of Homo sapiens neanderthalensis. The site was expertly excavated from 1899-1905 by the geologist and palaeontologist.Professor.Dragutin Gorjanović-Kramberger. In comparison to what happened at Cattedown as a result of Burnard and Worth's efforts, the excavation methodology of the site at Krapina was clearly far more advanced and in far greater capable and expert hands!
1b...Cattedown in south-west Victorian England was a heavily industrialised area undergoing further industrial expansion at the time of the accidental discovery of Worth's Cattedown Bone Cave. This discovery site underwent a rushed amateur-grade "rescue" excavation by Robert Burnard and R.N. Worth, with little recording of stratigraphic horizons and with no real understanding or recognition of the relative importance of the finds.

2a...The excavations within the Croatian territory had the instant and full recognition and political support of the little town of Krapina, which was remarkable for its time.
After over a century, the site itself is still very attractive, due to its palaeontological value and the large number of fossil samples found there. The site is protected as a palaeontological monument of nature, and widely known as a geological, palaeontological, paleo-anthropological and archaeological locality. It is listed as one of the richest palaeolithic habitats of Neanderthal man in Croatia and Europe. As you would rightly expect, there are no actual or potential industrial development threats to this locality.
2b...At Cattedown.even now in the 21st Century, the beleaguered Plymouth City Council cannot even approach equalling the support given by the local Croatian authorities to their site in comparatively primitive Krapina in 1899 --- 110 years ago!!
In 1999., the Cattedown Site was finally registered as a Nationally important Scheduled Ancient Monument (SM 29678) by English Heritage - the UK Government's Commission for Human Heritage. However, notwithstanding its registered National importance, the extant Cattedown location is currently under constant threat by proposed industrial developments. 
This suitably illustrates the relative values of what is at best a third-rate local authority - the Plymouth City Council.

3a...At Krapina, the 876 fossil hominin remains belonged to several dozen different individuals, of both sexes, ranging from 2 to 40 years of age. Of these remains, 196 are single teeth, and the others are cranial and postcranial skeletal parts. Unfortunately, an entire skeleton was never found - the bones gathered were from different body parts, ranging from the skull (fragments of frontal, parietal and occipital bones) to bones of the limbs and feet. Some of the skulls have prominent ridges over the eyes as well as the slanted brow. Even though the bones were mostly poorly preserved, they were in sufficient condition for the interpretation the anatomy of the Krapina Neanderthals to be undertaken.
3b...At Cattedown, the fossil hominin remains represented every bone in the human skeleton, belonging to at least 15 different individuals, of both sexes ranging from childhood to old age. The maxillae alone indicate the minimum number of individuals recovered from the cave. 
The condition of different bones varied greatly according to the exact circumstances of their preservation; ie. deeply embedded in stalagmite, in contact with the cave air, etc.
It seems that little or no organic matter such as collagen survived within the bone structure.

4a...At Krapina, the deposits were over 8 metres thick and are completely excavated.
4b...At Cattedown, the excavated deposits were 10 metres thick and the surviving in-situ undisturbed deposits continue to be of unknown vertical and horizontal extent.

5a...At Krapina, the excavations took 6 years to complete, 1899-1905.
5b...At Cattedown, the supervised excavation began on 29 April 1887 and took 6 months before it was stopped in October 1887. It was never completed.

6a...At Krapina, more than a thousand pieces of various stone tools and weapons from the palaeolithic era (Mousterian Culture) were found in undisturbed cave-sediment layers, all indicating that the contents of this rich locality are approximately 130,000 years old.
The rich fossil faunal assemblage also contained remnants of the cave bear (Ursus spelaeus), the warm climate rhinoceros (Rhinoceros mercki), wolf, moose, large deer, wild cattle and many other animals, stratigraphically belonging to the time of the last Riss - Würm Interglacial period, ranging from 130,000 to 50,000 years BP.
6b...At Cattedown, a qualitatively and quantitatively rich fossil mammalian faunal assemblage in direct association with a rich fossil hominin assemblage, together with only a few worked stone specimens and the remains of charcoal fires spread thoughout the lower deposits of Worth's Cattedown Bone Cave, are evidenced in a complex stratigraphy supporting the theory of a multiple-use cave habitat by Humans and separately by the Cave Hyaena and Cave Lion across a long time period from the Ipswichian Interglacial to the Devensian Glacial. Remains of the cave hyaena, rhinoceros, cave lion, wolf, fox, dog, weasel, polecat, red deer, roe deer, aurochs, bos, hog and badger are amongst the fossil faunal inventory.
A reapraisal of the Cattedown site indicates that the fossiliferous deposits had become acutely disturbed from the position of their original deposition, having been included in a "catastrophic collapse" event within the cave system, resulting in a relocation of their position within the cave system and a complete intermixing of the original stratigraphy. 


The principal undisputed feature that most people would remember in marking the difference between these two hominins is that of the facial appearance and in particular, the shape and angle of the brow ridge.


Professor.Dragutin Gorjanović-Kramberger.was also the first to use X-ray analysis on such material,
a line of investigation never undertaken on the Cattedown Collection.

The brain volume of Homo sapiens neanderthalensis..was significantly larger than that of Homo sapiens sapiens.
It has been demonstrated that the success of the latter over the former was probably due to the better mobility features of the anatomy.

It is considered that the average height of the Krapina Neanderthals was approximately 160 cm., whilst those of Homo sapiens sapiens from the Cattedown Site averaged about 154 cm., although if the Neanderthals had a stooping gait, they could well have appeared smaller.

Ostaci lobanje Krapinskog čoveka. (Crtež: Sead Čerkez, 1979.)
Remains of Skulls of Krapina Man. (Drawing: Sead Čerkez, 1979.)
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