Atul Humar and Deepali Kumar

RIP for a key Homo species?

The hominin Homo heidelbergensis, which lived between about 800,000 and 200,000 years ago, has long been considered a candidate for the common ancestor of Neandertals and modern humans. But the species is controversial, because whereas some researchers think it lived in Europe, Africa, and Asia, others see it as a European species only (and give other names to similar hominins on other continents). At a meeting in the southern French village of Tautavel, where a face and partial skull of this presumed species were found in a nearby cave in 1971, researchers debated its role in human evolution—and whether it actually existed as a discrete species. Resolving the debate is key to understanding the evolution of our own species, Homo sapiens.

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Posted in Archaeology, Paleontology