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§Homo heidelbergensis

Homo heidelbergensis is an extinct species of human whose fossilised bones date back as long as 600,000 years ago, although as a species it is thought to date back even earlier.

It is possible to believe that homo heidelbergensis is a descendant from homo ergaster, but always with any ancestral linkages between human species, it is speculative. Homo ergaster was an earlier species of homo which shared the world with another significant homo species called homo erectus, although some scientists argue that they are both the same species. Homo erectus migrated out of Africa around 1.8 million years ago, while homo ergaster discoveries have been more restricted to Africa.

A theory regarding the origin and spread of homo heidelbergensis is that it originally emerged in Africa and spread into North Africa and the Near East and onto Europe. Many fossil discoveries have been made in Europe, but discoveries relating to this species have been found as far afield as China.

It is believed to have used tools similar to the Acheulean tools thought to have been developed by homo erectus, and it is also believed that they had a very basic vocal communication skill. They would have inherited the previously mastered ability to control fire from homo erectus.

Some paleoanthropologists believe that homo heidelbergensis is a common ancestor to homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthals) and homo sapiens (Modern humans).

The following page (500Kyr) suggests that homo antecessor is a common ancestor of homo neanderthalensis and homo sapiens. This text cannot dismiss that theory on the basis that some scientists believe that homo heidelbergensis and homo antecessor are in fact the same species.


Research shows that Denisovans were a sister group to the Neanderthals, branching off from the human lineage 600,000 years ago, and diverging from Neanderthals, probably in the Middle East, 200,000 years later



Homo erectus was believed to be a wandering hunter, and began traveling far beyond African origins. Evidence of Homo erectus was found in China and is known as "Peking man". Homo erectus was believed to have lived in this area from 600,000 BCE to 200,000 BCE.



Sophisticated tools, worked on both sides of the stone and dating to 600,000 BCE, were found in the Cave of Escale at Saint EstÄ—ve-Janson


Home erectus "Heidelberg man" and is thought to have lived in this region from 800,000 BCE to 400,000 BCE.


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Page last modified on November 18, 2015, at 11:29 AM