The last link between Neanderthal man and modern man has been discovered, the Heidelberg man and, according to the Plos One study, he was tall and traveled frequently with other animals.
Studies have shown that the remains found belong to a single man from Heidelberg, known as Ceprano after the city near Rome where part of his skull was found. Before this study, this fossil was thought to represent another species, however, analysis found that Ceprano is more identified as part of Homo Heidelbergensis.
The Research Director of the National Center for Scientific Research, Silvana Condemi assures that “taking into account other fossils that can be grouped with Ceprano in H. heidelbergensis, we can hypothesize that the ‘Ceprano-morphotype’ was tall, with a strong lower jaw (mandible) and small teeth”.
To carry out the study successfully, the director, together with other collaborators, analyzed more than 42 fossils found in Africa and Eurasia. In addition, they made comparisons of Ceprano's remains with current human samples. The study also found similarities with other fossils from the Middle Pleistocene era.
“We can hypothesize that environmental conditions, particularly during the Middle Pleistocene, may have favored the spread of H. heidelbergensis and the contacts between populations.”, Affirms the director of the CNIC. Chris stringer, paleontologist of the London Natural History Museum, ensures that "it is a good primitive model in many respects and therefore it may be that, like some other samples of heidelbergensis in Africa and Europe, it does not represent the current past ancestral population”.
Although this research has shed light on many issues that were hidden, many scientists say that more studies of this type are needed to specify which stage our ancestors come from.
Heidelberg Man Skull Image: Archeologynews
Neanderthal Man Image: JacobEnos on Flickr
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