Homo neanderthalensis | The Smithsonian Institution's Human Origins Program
Figure 2: Evolutionary tree of H. heidelbergensis distinguished in subspecies H . heidelbergensis or H. neanderthalensis versus H. sapiens is. Homo heidelbergensis is an extinct species or subspecies of archaic humans in the genus Its exact relation both to the earlier Homo antecessor and Homo ergaster, and Homo sapiens has been proposed as derived from H. heidelbergensis via erectus, Homo heidelbergensis, Homo rhodesiensis and Neanderthals. Climate Effects on Human Evolution · Survival of the Adaptable . Image of male Neanderthal reconstruction based on Shanidar 1 by John Gurche What was the relationship between Neanderthals and the "Denisovans", a population Neanderthals and modern humans (Homo sapiens) evolved from a common ancestor.
Assuming in fact that H. Further analyses on the Denisova material—including exceptionally preserved nuclear DNA from the phalanx and the discovery of an upper molar—drove the same group of researchers to publish additional data [ 44 ], which appeared when the present paper was under revision.
They confirmed that the Denisova individuals, and the population they belonged to, exhibit molecular mtDNA as well as morphological dental features that appear extremely archaic.
By contrast, the picture that emerges from the analysis of the nuclear genome suggests that this human group has close affinities with the Neanderthals, larger than expected from the mtDNA.
Evolutionary tree of H. The main evolutionary trajectories dashed-bold lines and the maintenance of gene flow between populations of distinct lineages GF are in accordance with a combination of paleogenetic data reported by Krause and colleagues [ 42 ] and by Reich and colleagues [ 44 ].
According to this scenario, Ceprano would represent one of the latest representatives of the most archaic variant of H. Localised interspecific hybridization between H. Paleogenetic data also indicate that trajectories of human evolution leading in Europe to the Neanderthals and in Africa to modern humans coalesced around ka [ 4 — 6 ]. This substantiates previous conclusions based on morphology and palaeogeography, which suggested isolation and divergence between the European and African lineages during the Middle and the early Late Pleistocene after Santa Luca [ 38 ].
As a matter of fact, looking at the hypodigm of H. At the same time, phenotypic variation has to be noted also at the regional level, such as within the European fossil record of the Middle Pleistocene, now greatly expanded by the recently revised chronology of the calvarium from Ceprano [ 49 ]. The Case Study of Ceprano 3.
A Cranium for the Earliest Europeans? At present, there is a general consensus in assuming that humans spread towards western Europe during the late Early Pleistocene, probably earlier than 1, ka.
This is demonstrated by recent findings in Spain [ 3250 ], and possibly in southern France [ 51 ] and Italy, where the earliest settlements are suggested by the stone tools found at Pirro Nord, near Apricena in Puglia southern Italy [ 5253 ], in association with a rich paleontological assemblage biostratigraphically referred to a Faunal Unit of the Early Pleistocene about 1, ka; [ 5455 ].
Of interest are also sites dated at around 1, ka such as Monte Poggiolo [ 56 ] or a number of localities in the Ceprano basin and surroundings that have been recently object of a new season of excavations and analyses [ 57 ]. Between and ka, these humans proved to be capable to reach and adapt to higher latitudes, as demonstrated by sites in southern England [ 58 ].
This date is also consistent with the earliest clear documentation of Acheulean assemblages spread in various part of the continent from at least ka [ 61 ]. The Italian specimen was discovered in several fragments in a field known as Campogrande, near the town of Ceprano, in southern Lazio, less than km south-east of Rome. Its discovery represents the result of systematic field activities conducted for decades in southern Lazio by the Italian Institute of Human Palaeontology under the supervision of the Soprintendenza Archeologica del Lazioand particularly by I.
On March 13thBiddittu found a first cranial fragment during a survey along the trench excavated for a new road while other portions of the same cranium were still included in the nearby section created by the excavators. Subsequently, all the fragments about fifty were carefully extracted and sieved from the clayey sediments. The reconstruction of the cranium required more than one attempt, the intervention of a composite team, and, overall, about five years [ 626467 ].
For the purpose of a chronological reference, the geologist A. Segre [ 6267 ] suggested a compilation stratigraphic column at a microregional scale, mainly based on previous geopalaeontological knowledge. This describes two main complexes; the layer where the human calvarium was found belongs to the lower portion of the upper stratigraphic complex, pointing at a tentative age of about — ka. Consistently, the archaic features of the calvarium were considered in association with Mode 1 technocomplexes coming from sites scattered in the Ceprano basin [ 57 ], although a number of Acheulean assemblages are also well known at Campogrande and surroundings and are now submitted to an accurate reappraisal [ 49 ].
A Tantalizing Specimen of the Middle Pleistocene With these premises, a project of surveys and excavations started in under the direction of I.
Manzi, with a threefold aim: Segre; 3 improvement of the palaeontological and archaeological records. After ten years, the results obtained through a multidisciplinary approach—including stratigraphic and palynological data, combined with sedimentology, geochemistry, soil-micromorphology, taphonomy, and the archaeological evidence—showed that the Ceprano calvarium is more recent than previously believed, pointing at a time range close to about ka and, more precisely, to the interval at the beginning of marine isotopic stage MIS 11 bracketed between and ka [ 49 ].
This result is also consistent with the normal geomagnetic polarity recorded in the area of discovery down to a depth of about 50 metres [ 68 ]. Five years later, two papers criticized the H. Further studies included a cladistic approach, with the questionable proposal of a new species name [ 30 ]. Moreover, the CT scanning of the specimen [ 65 ] and other phenetic data [ 82366 ] produced additional elements that were useful to better understand the specimen in a comparative framework.
On the whole, these researches largely support conclusions preliminarily reached by Manzi and colleagues [ 27 ], which may be summarised as follows.
International Journal of Evolutionary Biology
First of all, though some metric and architectural features of Ceprano approach those shared by fossils referred to H. Third, Ceprano does not display any Neanderthal trait, while it shows affinities with the African penecontemporaneous fossil record, closer than the affinities it has with its European counterparts. A possible conclusion is that Ceprano may be regarded as a mosaic morphological link between the clade composed by the group of species referred to as H.
In addition, it has to be remarked that Mounier and colleagues [ 4769 ], in the wide framework of a recent reappraisal of the fossil record pertaining to H. Mediterranean Perspectives Viewed in a wide paleoecological scenario, the earliest dispersal of human groups towards the western Mediterranean regions was likely part of the progressive faunal renewal that involved the diffusion of some large mammals of African and Asian origin during the Early Pleistocene [ 73570 ].
This diffusion was also favoured by the opportunistic nature of hominins that were archaic both in their morphology—highlighted by the affinities observed between the H.
Homo antecessor: Common Ancestor of Humans and Neanderthals?
An even more favourable window for human presence in Europe likely opened around 1, ka and later, when more consistent settlements were probably related to the major faunal renewal that characterised the Early to Middle Pleistocene transition.
Thus, since at least 1, ka, dispersals of taxa and turnover phases led to a progressive reconstruction of mammalian faunal complexes in Europe that was complete after the beginning of the Middle Pleistocene [ 75 ]. The unique hominin hard evidence in Europe for this time period is represented so far at Atapuerca TE9 and TD6, but the presence of human populations is documented by a number of Mode 1 archaeological sites.
This climatic collapse probably constituted a strong environmental barrier and might not be by chance that it preceded the appearance of the Acheulean tool technology Mode 2 in the continent. In other words, it is in the framework of the changed environmental scenario implied by the Mid-Pleistocene Revolution, but only after MIS 16, that we have clear evidence in Europe of a second main dispersal of hominins: The exact origin of these humans is still not clear, though it may be assumed that they ultimately emerged from Africa [ 4277 ].
As already stressed in the first part of this paper, these Acheulean-bearing humans exhibit a clear discontinuity in morphology with the hominins previously diffused into Europe, that is, with H. As a result of this second main diffusion towards western Eurasia, in the middle part of the Middle Pleistocene, we find in the continent a variety of human fossil samples, which are dispersed from northern e. On the whole, this fossil record is considered by many authors as part of the hypodigm of the species H.
Subsequently, the observed pattern of evolution in Europe during the Middle Pleistocene is consistent with a long period of isolation for humans north of the Mediterranean Sea, which seems to be supported on both morphological and genetic grounds [ 35384579 ].
These populations are characterised by an apparent increase of Neanderthal features; an increase that, in turn, was probably related to the dramatic glacial periods of MIS 12—6, that might have produced demographic crashes among human populations, which resulted in population bottlenecks, likely favouring either genetic drift or adaptations to cold climatic conditions.
On the other hand, however, more recent evidence on the European fossil record of the Middle Pleistocene hardly supports the hypothesis of a linear and gradual process of change [ 84 — 86 ].
Just to give an example, endocranial metric variations fail to demonstrate the occurrence of sequential discrete steps along this hypothetical anagenetic process [ 87 ]. Moreover, the Neanderthals—even in their earliest representatives, such as those from Saccopastore—seem to be characterized by a well-defined brain morphology, emphasizing the phylogenetic independence of H.Trailer: WHEN NEANDERTAL MET HOMO SAPIENS
This suggests a distinction between two different chronospecies as well as an event of speciation that occurred in Europe towards the end of the Middle Pleistocene, which appear consistent with the paleogenetic data [ 46 ].
It is reasonable that something similar—although not identical—happened with the locally evolving populations of late H. An example might be the emergence in Africa of H. However, the pattern in this case was peculiar in terms of both evolutionary modalities and changes in morphology.
Various scholars have argued, and partly proved, that the allopatric speciations involved in the phenotypic and genetic distinction between Neanderthals and modern humans would reflect crucial differences in the respective ontogenetic processes [ 88 — 90 ].
Although similar trends of encephalization characterize quantitatively the two derived species, they diverge in many respects, particularly when we look at the shape more than at the dimensions. It has been observed, for instance, that the Neanderthals share with more archaic humans the same endocranial model, based on a single allometric trend whereas the modern range of variability implies a peculiar morphological pattern, with a larger amount of parietal development [ 92 ].
Summary and Conclusions In this paper, we dealt with arguments concerning the evolution of the genus Homo and attempted to put recent and less recent studies in such a broader context. As stated in the introduction, the aim was to investigate a new frontier for paleoanthropology. This is represented in my view by the discovery of the deep roots for the origin of modern humans in the Early and Middle Pleistocene, respectively, when the common ancestor of both H. In this framework, I speculated that any scenario dealing with the evolution of the genus Homo between the Early and Middle Pleistocene must envisage that the fossil specimen from Ceprano, Italy, does not appropriately fit into the known ranges of variability of recognized hominin species, particularly but not exclusively in the light of its dating to less than ka.
I also observed that something that was crucial for the evolution of the genus Homo happened around the beginning of the Middle Pleistocene, between about 1, ka and ka. Looking at the fossil record in Africa and Eurasia, in fact, there are differences that occur between the late representatives of the earliest spread of the genus Homo e. Thus, when connecting all the elements described in this brief overview on the Early-to-Middle Pleistocene fossil evidence preceding the emergence of H.
What was the relative contribution of animal and plant sources to the average Neanderthal's diet? Were Neanderthals routinely symbolic e. The reputed fossil man of the Neanderthal. Quarterly Review of Science 1, Pathology and the posture of the La Chappelle-aux-Saints Neanderthal. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 67, Changing the Image of Mankind. Patterns of trauma among the Neandertals.
Journal of Archaeological Science 22, Experimental evidence concerning spear use in Neandertals and early modern humans. Journal of Archaeological Science 30, Return of the last Neanderthal.
Homo heidelbergensis - Wikipedia
Neanderthal exploitation of marine mammals in Gibraltar. Separating "us" from "them": Neanderthal and modern human behavior. Compared to early humans living in tropical Africa, with more abundant edible plant foods available year-round, the number of plant foods Neanderthals could eat would have dropped significantly during the winter of colder climates, forcing Neanderthals to exploit other food options like meat more heavily.
There is evidence that Neanderthals were specialized seasonal hunters, eating animals were available at the time i. Scientists have clear evidence of Neanderthal hunting from uncovering sharp wooden spears and large numbers of big game animal remains were hunted and butchered by Neanderthals.
There is also evidence from Gibraltar that when they lived in coastal areas, they exploited marine resources such as mollusks, seals, dolphins and fish.
Scientists have also found plaque on the remains of molar teeth containing starch grains—concrete evidence that Neanderthals ate plants. This innovative technique allowed flakes of predetermined shape to be removed and fashioned into tools from a single suitable stone.
Acheulean tools worked from a suitable stone that was chipped down to tool form by the removal of flakes off the surface. Neanderthals used tools for activities like hunting and sewing. Scientists have also recovered scrapers and awls larger stone or bone versions of the sewing needle that modern humans use today associated with animal bones at Neanderthal sites. Neanderthals were the first early humans to wear clothing, but it is only with modern humans that scientists find evidence of the manufacture and use of bone sewing needles to sew together tighter fitting clothing.
Neanderthals also controlled fire, lived in shelters, and occasionally made symbolic or ornamental objects. This may be one of the reasons that the Neanderthal fossil record is so rich compared to some earlier human species; being buried greatly increases the chance of becoming a fossil! Both fossil and genetic evidence indicate that Neanderthals and modern humans Homo sapiens evolved from a common ancestor betweenandyears ago.