NEANDERTHALS killed their prey by launching huge spears from 65ft away, scientists have claimed.

It was previously believed that cavemen just used the spears to stab and lunge instead of throwing - but fragments of javelin heads have proved they were used for long-range kills.

Using accurate replicas of spears designed 300,000 years ago, javelin throwers were able to hit a target up to 65ft (20m) away.

This was double the distance experts had believed the 'Schoningen' spears could be thrown.

It means the weapons were skilfully designed to be aerodynamic, meaning the Neanderthals were more technologically advanced than previously thought.

The spears were able to pierce a practice target with enough force to kill an animal.

Dr Annemieke Milks, from University College London's Institute of Archaeology, said: "This study is important because it adds to a growing body of evidence that Neanderthals were technologically savvy.

"They had the ability to hunt big game through a variety of hunting strategies, not just risky close encounters.

"It contributes to revised views of Neanderthals as our clever and capable cousins."

The Schoningen spears are a set of ten prehistoric javalins discovered in the 1990s.