Member of The Crypto Crew:

Please Also Visit our Sister Blog, Frontiers of Anthropology:

And the new group for trying out fictional projects (Includes Cryptofiction Projects):

And Kyle Germann's Blog

And Jay's Blog, Bizarre Zoology

Sunday 25 March 2012

Homo Sapiens Heidelbergensis: Big Daddy Is Still Around

Since Tyler Stone has divided the Wildmen category up into a larger Homo (sapiens) heidelbergensis morph and a more normal-sized  Homo (sapiens) neanderthalensis morph, and I basically was endorsing him on that I should add some further comments about that larger fossil type in connection to the possible identity for the EASTERN Bigfoot (Reconstruction of Heidelberg or Mauer man is on the left, probable inspiration for religious tract shown at top)

Above is a comparison of "Rhodey" an East Coast Bigfoot, artwork by Thomas Finley. I recognised a resemblance to a certain H. heidelbergensis reconstruction, pasted them together as a comparison and sent back a copy to him. There are probably dozens of such comparisons that could be made. This is in reference to the Eastern Bigfoot and not the West Coast Sasquatch.

I have an elaborate and thorough discussion on the over-arching category of Marked Hominids pos and then reposted here, and that category would include the Eastern Bigfoot types under discussion:
As it says in that article (and as Tyler Stone has specified more  recently) there seems no good reason to make separate species for both the large-morph and small-morph Wildmen, although they both go back to well-known fossil fossil forerunners.

Below is a Geographic chart I made up combining two different reference pieces on Heidelbergensis. The area was first colonised by Homo ergaster=Homo erectus and then Heidelbergers replaced erectus. In Europe, it is not demonstrated if erectus was ever present in any quantities to speak of, most of the remains of the period are Heidelbergers. Late examples of "Peking Man" also show striking similarities to Heidelbergers and it seems the population was in the process of a changeover from one to the other. First H erectus and then H heidelbergensis persisted longest in the Orient.

The Eastern Bigfoot is most like the fossil human Homo (sapiens) heidelbergensis, also known as "Archaic Homo sapiens" The reconstruction on the left is much like the Iceman and similar to some of Ivan Sanderson's reconstructions of this type. The skeletons at the right show how heidelbergensis was unusually large among the human ancestors, as also shown in the hominid "Lineups" such as the series of skeletons shown below. Homo (sapiens) heidelbergensis individuals were often six feet six at full height. Sis foot six would be about the Russian common estimate in height for the Boreal Bigfoot, two meters in height: because the Americans are not used to the metric system they will more usually say seven fet tal on average, which is also probably not as precisely correct for that reason . Their pelvises were also enormous, much larger than in modern humans

Australopithecus,Paranthropus,Homo erectus,Homo heidelbergensis,Homo neanderthalensis,H sapiens

Homo heidelbergensis, the Ceprano Skull various views. See the longer article at bottom of this posting.
Type Specimens for Homo heidelbergensis: below, the reconstructions

Homo heidelbergensis ("Heidelberg Man", named after the University of Heidelberg) is an extinct species of the genus Homo which may be[1] the direct ancestor of both Homo neanderthalensis in Europe and Homo sapiens.[2] The best evidence found for these hominins date between 600,000 and 400,000 years ago. H. heidelbergensis stone tool technology was very close to that of the Acheulean tools used by Homo erectus

Morphology and interpretations
Both H. antecessor and H. heidelbergensis are likely to be descended from the morphologically very similar Homo ergaster from Africa. But because H. heidelbergensis had a larger brain-case — with a typical cranial volume of 1100–1400 cm³ overlapping the 1350 cm³ average of modern humans — and had more advanced tools and behavior, it has been given a separate species classification. The species was tall, 1.8 m (6.0 ft) on average, and more muscular than modern humans. Males may have weighed 100 kg (220 lb). According to Professor Lee R. Berger of the University of Witwatersrand, numerous fossil bones indicate some populations of H. heidelbergensis were "giants" routinely over 2.13 m (7 ft) tall and inhabited South Africa between 0.5 million and 300,000 years ago.[3][Including the Kabwe population/former "Rhodesian Man", but some European populations are thought to have been on a par with them. Emphasis added-DD]

Social behavior

Recent findings in a pit in Atapuerca (Spain) of 28 human skeletons suggest that H. heidelbergensis may have been the first species of the Homo genus to bury their dead.[4]
Some experts[5] believe that H. heidelbergensis, like its descendant H. neanderthalensis, acquired a primitive form of language. No forms of art or sophisticated artifacts other than stone tools have been uncovered, although red ochre, a mineral that can be used to create a red pigment which is useful as a paint, has been found at Terra Amata excavations in the south of France.

Language The morphology of the outer and middle ear suggests they had an auditory sensitivity similar to modern humans and very different from chimpanzees. They were probably able to differentiate between many different sounds.[6] Dental wear analysis suggests they were as likely to be right-handed as modern people.[7]
H. heidelbergensis was a close relative (most probably a migratory descendant) of Homo ergaster. H. ergaster is thought to be the first hominin to vocalize[5] and that as H. heidelbergensis developed more sophisticated culture proceeded from this point.

Evidence of hunting

A number of 400,000-year-old wooden projectile spears were found at Schöningen in northern Germany. These are thought to have been made by H. erectus or H. heidelbergensis. Generally, projectile weapons are more commonly associated with H. sapiens. The lack of projectile weaponry is an indication of different sustenance methods, rather than inferior technology or abilities. The situation is identical to that of native New Zealand Māori, modern H. sapiens, who also rarely threw objects, but used spears and clubs instead.[8]

Divergent evolution

Homo heidelbergensis: Steinheim skull replica
Because of the radiation of H. heidelbergensis out of Africa and into Europe, the two populations were mostly isolated during the Wolstonian Stage and Ipswichian Stage, the last of the prolonged Quaternary glacial periods. Neanderthals diverged from H. heidelbergensis probably some 300,000 years ago in Europe, during the Wolstonian Stage; H. sapiens probably diverged between 200,000 and 100,000 years ago in Africa. Such fossils as the Atapuerca skull and the Kabwe skull bear witness to the two branches of the H. heidelbergensis tree.
Homo neanderthalensis retained most of the features of H. heidelbergensis after its divergent evolution. Though shorter, Neanderthals were more robust, had large brow-ridges, a slightly protruding face and lack of prominent chin. With the possible exception of Cro-Magnon Man, they also had a larger brain than all other hominins. Homo sapiens, on the other hand, have the smallest brows of any known hominin, are tall and lanky, and have a flat face with a protruding chin. H. sapiens have a larger brain than H. heidelbergensis, and a smaller brain than H. neanderthalensis, on average. To date, H. sapiens is the only known hominin with a high forehead, flat face, and thin, flat brows.[and the characteristic drastic reduction of body hair-DD]
Some believe that H. heidelbergensis is a distinct species, Some believe it is only the earlier form of Homo sapiens,  and some that it is a cladistic ancestor to other Homo forms sometimes improperly linked to distinct species in terms of populational genetics.
Some scenarios of survival and descent include Those supporting a multiregional origin of modern humans envision fertile reproduction between many evolutionary stages and homo walking,[9] or gene transfer between adjacent populations due to gene passage and spreading in successive generations.


Replica of the type specimen from Mauer
The first fossil discovery of this species was made on October 21, 1907, and came from Mauer where the workman Daniel Hartmann spotted a jaw in a sandpit. The jaw (Mauer 1) was in good condition except for the missing premolar teeth, which were eventually found near the jaw. The workman gave it to Professor Otto Schoetensack from the University of Heidelberg, who identified and named the fossil.
The next H. heidelbergensis remains were found in Steinheim an der Murr, Germany (the Steinheim Skull, 350kya); Arago, France (Arago 21); Petralona, Greece; and Ciampate del Diavolo, Italy.

Boxgrove Man

In 1994 British scientists unearthed a lower hominin tibia bone just a few miles away from the English Channel, along with hundreds of ancient hand axes, at the Boxgrove Quarry site. A partial leg bone is dated to between 478,000 and 524,000 years old. H. heidelbergensis was the early proto-human species that occupied both France and Great Britain at that time; both locales were connected by a landmass during that epoch. Prior to Gran Dolina, Boxgrove offered the earliest hominid occupants in Europe.
The tibia had been gnawed by a large carnivore, suggesting that he had been killed by a lion or wolf or that his unburied corpse had been scavenged after death.[10]

Sima de los Huesos

One of hundreds of handaxes found at Boxgrove
Beginning in 1992, a Spanish team has located more than 5,500 human bones dated to an age of at least 350,000 years in the Sima de los Huesos site in the Sierra de Atapuerca in northern Spain. The pit contains fossils of perhaps 28 individuals together with remains of Ursus deningeri and other carnivores and a biface called Excalibur. It is hypothesized that this Acheulean axe made of red quartzite was some kind of ritual offering for a funeral. Ninety percent of the known H. heidelbergensis remains have been obtained from this site. The fossil pit bones include:
  • A complete cranium (skull 5), nicknamed Miguelón, and fragments of other crania, such as skull 4, nicknamed Agamenón and skull 6, nicknamed Rui (from El Cid, a local hero).
  • A complete pelvis (pelvis 1), nicknamed Elvis, in remembrance of Elvis Presley.
  • Mandibles, teeth, and many postcranial bones (femurs, hand and foot bones, vertebrae, ribs, etc.)
Indeed, nearby sites contain the only known and controversial Homo antecessor fossils.
There is current debate among scholars whether Sima de los Huesos is H. heidelbergensis, or another hominin that doesn't fit in the direct line from H. antecessor to H. neanderthalensis.

Suffolk, England

In 2005 flint tools and teeth from the water vole Mimomys savini, a key dating species, were found in the cliffs at Pakefield near Lowestoft in Suffolk. This suggests that hominins can be dated in England to 700,000 years ago, potentially a cross between Homo antecessor and Homo heidelbergensis.[11][12][13][14][15]

See also


  1. ^ Mounier,Aurélien; François Marchal and Silvana Condemi "Is Homo heidelbergensis a distinct species? New insight on the Mauer mandible" Journal of Human Evolution Volume 56, Issue 3, March 2009, Pages 219-246 [1]
  2. ^ Rightmire, G. P. (1998). "Human Evolution in the Middle Pleistocene: The Role of Homo heidelbergensis". Evolutionary Anthropology 6 (6): 218–227. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1520-6505(1998)6:6<218::AID-EVAN4>3.0.CO;2-6.
  3. ^ The Naked Scientists: Science Radio & Science Podcasts, Our Story: Human Ancestor Fossils. November 2007
  4. ^ The Mystery of the Pit of Bones, Atapuerca, Spain: Species Homo heidelbergensis. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved December 15, 2011.
  5. ^ a b Mithen, Steven (2006). The Singing Neanderthals, ISBN 978-0-674-02559-8
  6. ^ Martinez, I., L. Rosa, J.-L. Arsuaga, P. Jarabo, R. Quam, C. Lorenzo, A. Gracia, J.-M. Carretero, J.M. Bermúdez de Castro, E. Carbonell (July 2004). "Auditory capacities in Middle Pleistocene humans from the Sierra de Atapuerca in Spain". PNAS 101 (27): 9976–9981. doi:10.1073/pnas.0403595101. PMC 454200. PMID 15213327.
  7. ^ Lozano M, Mosquera M, de Castro J, Arsuaga J, Carbonell E. (2009). Right handedness of Homo heidelbergensis from Sima de los Huesos (Atapuerca, Spain) 500,000 years ago. Evolution and Human Behavior 30:369–376. doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2009.03.001
  8. ^ Schwimmer, E.G. "Warfare of the Maori." Te Ao Hou: The New World, #36, Sept 1961, pp. 51-53. [2]
  9. ^ Was Homo heidelbergensis in South Asia? A test using the Narmada fossil from central India Book Series Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology Series Book The Evolution and History of Human Populations in South Asia Publisher Springer Netherlands DOI 10.1007/1-4020-5562-5 Copyright 2007 ISBN 978-1-4020-5561-4 (Print) 978-1-4020-5562-1 (Online) Part Part I DOI 10.1007/1-4020-5562-5_7 Pages 137-170 Subject Collection Humanities, Social Sciences and Law SpringerLink Date Tuesday, May 22, 2007 [3]
  10. ^ A History of Britain, Richard Dargie (2007), p. 8-9
  11. ^ Parfitt.S et al (2005) 'The earliest record of human activity in northern Europe', Nature 438 pp.1008-1012, 2005-12-15. Retrieved 2011-04-16.
  12. ^ Roebroeks.W (2005) 'Archaeology: Life on the Costa del Cromer', Nature 438 pp.921-922, 2005-12-15. Retrieved 2011-04-16.
  13. ^ Parfitt.S et al (2006) '700,000 years old: found in Pakefield', British Archaeology, January/February 2006. Retrieved 2008-12-24.
  14. ^ Good. C & Plouviez. J (2007) The Archaeology of the Suffolk Coast Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service [online]. Retrieved 2009-11-28.
  15. ^ Tools unlock secrets of early man, BBC news website, 2005-12-14. Retrieved 2011-04-15.

Further reading

  • Sauer, A. (1985). Erläuterungen zur Geol. Karte 1 : 25 000 Baden-Württ.. 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-jährigen Wiederkehr seiner Entdeckung". Z. F. Morphol. U. Anthropol XXXVII (1): 102–113.
  • Rice, Stanley (2006). Encyclopedia of Evolution. Facts on File, Inc..
  • Homo heidelbergensis - The Smithsonian Institution's Human Origins Program

Geneology chart for hominids. The Neanderthals in Europe are part of what has been called "The Neanderthal stage" or "Neanderthals (sensuo lato)", including the Heidelbergers, a rather more old-fashioned classification. At the same time as Neanderthals were in Europe, the different populations in Africa and the Orient were parallels but differentiated from them. They are now called persisting H. heidelbergensis, lighter orange on the chart, and Neanderthals are only  one variety, nested within the larger general species.) since the prior name of that species or subspecies was by priority neanderthalensis (with the 'h' included), that species or subspecies is quite properly referred to as the Neanderthals. You may make the distinction between that and Neandertals, proper, if you prefer , The Neandertals or Classic Neandertals are a form isolated Ice-Age Western Europe and really one extended family, Only a couple tens of thousands of years old at the time the more modern types of  Hns appeared on the scene in Europe and replaced them. It is therefore not surprising that they were more diverged and unique than their contemporaries in other parts of the world.

Heidelberg Man 'Ceprano' Demonstrates That 'Peoples is Peoples'

from the May 17, 2011 eNews issue (visit our website for a FREE subscription)

An older member of the Heidelberg Man family may have related to both Neanderthals and modern Homo sapiens, according to a recent study in the journal for the Public Library of Science. The skull cap of a man known as "Ceprano", found near Rome in1994, has been determined to be a member of Homo heidelbergensis rather than a separate species. According to popular evolutionary theory, various human fossils represent separate groups that evolved from ape ancestors millions of years ago. According to the Bible, all human beings descended from the first man Adam, but most were wiped out during the time of Noah save for the strains that survived through Noah's three sons and their wives. The recent research on Ceprano offers evidence that ancient human groups were not as distinct as once thought, and that there are links between the humans who lived in Africa and those who lived in Europe.

Silvana Condemi , Director of Research at the National Center of Scientific Research (CNRS) in the laboratory of anthropology at the University of Marseille, has conducted extensive research on the Ceprano skullcap. Condemi and her colleagues compared Ceprano to 42 African and Eurasian fossils, as well as to 68 modern humans, and found characteristics that convinced them that Ceprano was an older form of H. heidelbergensis, and that H. heidelbergensis was a well-traveled human group. Ceprano's skull bore similarities to a wide range of other human skulls – skulls from early humans in both Africa and Europe.

"Considering other fossils that can be lumped together with Ceprano in H. heidelbergensis, we can hypothesize that the 'Ceprano-morphotype' was very tall, with a strong mandible (jaw) and small teeth," Condemi told Discovery News.

Ceprano's identity has proved controversial since the skullcap's discovery in 1994. It has been considered a late Homo erectus, an ancestor of H. heidelbergensis, or even a completely new species called Homo cepranensis. Condemi and company argue that Ceprano, while bearing some archaic characteristics, may actually be an ancestor of both the Neanderthals in Europe and modern humans in Africa.

According to current evolutionary theory, the first members of the Homo genus, H. habilis first showed up between 1.4-2.5 million years ago, followed by H. erectus about 1.8 million years ago. After that came H. heidelbergensis approximately 350,000 years ago and finally modern humans just 150,000 years in the past.

The most popular view of human origins – Out of Africa II "Replacement" theory - is that Homo sapiens came out of Africa between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago and replaced other humans, like the Neanderthals, largely without intermingling.
[Successive waves acing multiregional populations, such as Milford Wolpoff hypothesizes. Wikipedia image.]
[Note that Neanderthals are only one local specialization out of the more widespread H. heidelburgensis horizon]

An alternate hypothesis popularized by Milford H. Wolpoff rejects the idea that different human groups are genetically separate. Wolpoff's multiregional origin of humans hypothesis posits that there is only one human species, from archaic forms like H. erectus and H. neanderthalensis to modern humans. Wolpoff and other proponents of multiregional origin argue that the evidence from fossils and genetics points to the human race as a single species that developed different characteristics as its individual populations spread throughout the globe, adapting to different environments. Even though the populations were separated by geography, they all maintained some of the same genes.

Wolpoff's position has some good evidence to back it up. Studies have shown that H. neanderthalensis and H. erectus were not as separate from modern humans as previously thought. In 2006, researchers analyzed the DNA of a Neanderthal from a cave in Croatia, and determined that it was 99.5 percent identical to modern human DNA. In 2008, researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology were able to identify 60 percent of the Neanderthal genome and demonstrated that 1-4 percent of non-African human DNA came from Neanderthals.

Studies on mitochondrial DNA have claimed to show that Neanderthals were not direct descendants of modern humans. However, the Lake Mungo 3 skeleton found in Australia, an anatomically modern human, also has different mtDNA than humans today. While ancient humans like the Neanderthals and their smaller cousin H. erectus [see the May 10, 2011 eNews] may have (mostly) died out, they were just as human as any of us.

Ceprano, while previously thought to have been a separate species, now appears to be a cross between ancient Europeans and Africans, supporting Wolpoff's position that all human gene pools are linked.

"We can hypothesize that particular environmental conditions during the Middle Pleistocene may have favored the expansion of H. heidelbergensis and contacts between populations," explained Condemi. "The gene flow was never completely stopped between Old World populations."

Paleontologist Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum, London, agreed with a number of Condemi's conclusions. He told Discovery News, "I have long argued that Homo heidelbergensis represented our common ancestor with the Neanderthals about 400,000 years ago, and the Ceprano fossil, with its newly-determined late date, is well-situated chronologically to be part of this common ancestral group."

While these scientists look at these issues through evolutionary eyes, their views correspond to the Biblical position that all human beings are ultimately related. If all of humanity but Noah and his family were wiped out, we should expect to see a variety of human groups in the fossil record, but only a relatively thin strain surviving to the present day.
Related Links:
Walk Tall, Ginger Ninjas - Your Neanderthal Blood Is Worth Bottling - The Sydney Morning Herald
Multiregional, Not Multiple Origins - American Journal Of Physical Anthropology
Heidelberg Man Links Humans, Neanderthals - Discovery News
Neanderthal: 99.5 Percent Human - Live Science
The Continuing Story of Neandert(h)al Man - Centrum voor Recht and ICT
Human Origins: Apes or Adam? - May 10, 2011 - Koinonia House eNews


  1. The scientific theories/collected evidence don't support a literal understanding of Noah's ark story at all.

    And it's not only regarding human evolution, the whole notion of all the living and some recently-extinct animal species (that's a number much larger than "50", much larger than the number of species kept at any zoo, and zoos are much larger than boats) being kept alive for one year in a boat (not just two of every species, but seven for most of them, according to the bible), then migrating to coincidentally inhabit their present-day habitats is simply absurd.

  2. The Noah's ark argument is of course completely immaterial in this instance.

  3. I don't mean to attempt to criticize your theory, but I personally feel that there is no evidence for such an advanced tool and culture using hominid as Homo sapiens heidelbergensis to be behind the reports of Eastern Bigfoot. I, as well as others such as Dr. Meldrum, generally doubt that a member of the genus Homo could be behind Bigfoot reports due to the fact that advanced tool use (and other human species qualities) are not reported. However, I have noted distinct reports from the Northwest regions of North America (generally more northern than the PNW) that often include reports of language and tool/culture use (including stone clubs and fires). I will be finishing an article on this soon.

  4. There is a really big fallacy in that people assume that cutures will remain constant over very different conditions. It is rather like saying "All civilised people drive cars, they cannot be modern Homo sapiens if they don't drive cars. Well, not everybody can afford a car or have any access to cars." This involves a condition we call poverty. I am saying these fellows are under duress from modern Homo sapiens which is keeping them on the run. They do not get the best raw resources, we do. They do not have the luxury of living at optimal condition, we have taken that away from them. They are impoverished and their culture is impoverished, especially in areas like the Gobi desert, Tibet and the American Southwest. They don't plant crops, they dig for roots. They don't set snares, they ambush their prey. They do things in a simpler way because they have top do it that way. This does not make them less adaptable: on the contrary it shows they are more adaptable.In cases such as these, preconceptions about culture must default to solid descriptions of anatomy, and to relict bones and teeth where available. If you have a good consistent description of H. heidelbergensis anatomy,and a few definite bony remains that look like that category, your argument is invalid.

    1. You do have a very good point there! Thanks.

  5. There is also a certain arrogance in making the statement "This does not fit my preconceived notions and therefore it must be wrong." Well no, we are not talking about certainties, we are talking best guesses. There is some room for more than one opinion and the official line of thought could be completely wrong-headed. At which time we re-assess the situation and we have a paradigm shift. It happens all the time.

    1. I'm sorry, I didn't mean that. It just didn't fit the evidence that suggests to Homo heidelbergensis were highly cultural. But you are right that they could've shifted. Thanks for discussing.


This blog does NOT allow anonymous comments. All comments are moderated to filter out abusive and vulgar language and any posts indulging in abusive and insulting language shall be deleted without any further discussion.