Homo heidelbergensis

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Homo heidelbergensis
Conservation status: Fossil
Missing image
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H. heidelbergensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Subphylum:Vertebrata
Class:Mammalia
Order:Primates
Family:Hominidae
Genus:Homo
Species:H. heidelbergensis
Binomial name
Homo heidelbergensis
Schoetensack, 1908

Homo heidelbergensis is an extinct species of the genus Homo and the common ancestor of both Neanderthal man (Homo neanderthalensis) and Cro-Magnon man (Homo sapiens). It descended from the morphologically very similar Homo erectus but because H. heidelbergensis had a larger brain-case, about 93% of Homo sapiens' size, and more advanced tools and behaviour, it has been given a separate species classification. The species was tall, 1.8 m (6 ft.) on average, and more muscular than modern humans.

Homo heidelbergensis first appeared in the Pleistocene roughly 600,000 years ago and was significantly more intelligent than Homo erectus, which appeared 1.85 million years ago. The exact area that this species occupied is unknown due to insufficient fossilized remains, but it is known that it flourished in Europe and Africa for several hundred thousand years.

It is thought that many aspects of the Acheulean era (early paleolithic) tool case were innovated and utilized by this species. Homo heidelbergensis also innovated many more advanced tools not associated with the early and middle paleolithic period, such as throwing spears, which is a somewhat anomalous finding. More advanced tool-making techniques of the Mousterian (middle paleolithic) tool case were also thought to have been innovated by this species toward the end of its presence in the fossil record. However, the tools of H. heidelbegensis were not nearly as advanced as those used by Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons.

Recent findings in Europe also suggest that H. heidelbergensis may have been the first species of the Homo genus to bury their dead, but that is hotly contested at this time. Sites where H. heidelbergensis appears to have produced the red pigment ochre from hematite suggest this species may have practiced art or ritual. At least toward the end of its tenure on Earth, they almost certainly controlled fire and may even have used rudimentary language.

Literature

SAUER, A. (1985): Erluterungen zur Geol. Karte 1 : 25 000 Baden-Wrtt., Blatt 6618 Heidelberg-Sd (frher Blatt Neckargemnd) 110 S., Stuttgart.
SCHOETENSACK, O. (1908): Der Unterkiefer des Homo heidelbergensis aus den Sanden von Mauer bei Heidelberg. Leipzig: Wilhelm Engelmann.
WEINERT, H. (1937): Dem Unterkiefer von Mauer zur 30-jhrigen Wiederkehr seiner Entdeckung, Z. f. Morphol. u. Anthropol. Bd.XXXVII, Heft 1, S.102-113.
ast:Homo heidelbergensis ca:Homo heidelbergensis de:Homo heidelbergensis ja:ホモ・ハイデルベルゲンシス nl:Homo heidelbergensis pl:Homo heidelbergensis sv:Homo heidelbergensis

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