Cro-magnon refers to the first homo sapiens sapiens in europe living around 35.000-10.000 years ago. Neanderthals are designated Homo Sapiens Neandethalis and we are designated Homo Sapiens Sapiens. Neanderthals and homo sapiens sapiens might not have been so different as you suggest, it is a common cliché to portray neanderthals as more apelike than they actually were physically. Very little precise data of the intelligence and complexity of language of the neanderthals exists, and there is a lot of discussion on the subject. From archaeological evidence at the time neanderthals and homo sapiens sapiens existed contemporeous to each other there is no clear evidence of marked difference. Of course there is a lot of unanswered questions, and different meanings of almost all factors involved exists. @morikaweb, Yes the most common theory is that the homo sapiens sapiens extincted the neanderthals.... But whether it was by war, competition of resources or more controversial, assimilation in the genepool - is still an issue with no clear answers... The last one is very interesting I think, the theory goes that there was quite a lot more homo sapiens sapiens than neaderthals, which account for that it is difficult to see today if these two species merged.