Skull of Neanderthal, Homo neanderthalensis. Neanderthals were relatives of humans that inhabited Europe and parts of western Asia between about 300,000 and 24,000 years ago. Modern humans, Homo sapiens, migrated into Europe around 40,000 years ago, and so would have co-existed with the Neanderthals. Neanderthals had a large brain capacity, large noses, and a short, robust build to cope with the cold climate. This Neanderthal skull is called La Chapelle-aux-Saints 1, after its place of discovery in a cave site in central France.