Saturday, November 17, 2012

HEIDELBERGENSIS

 
 
 
Since I am in Heidelberg at the moment, I thought it would be appropriate to write a bit about Heidelberg Man.  From the Wiki - Homo heidelbergensis ("Heidelberg Man", named after the University of Heidelberg) is an extinct species of the genus Homo which may be the direct ancestor of both Homo neanderthalensis in Europe and Homo sapiens.  The best evidence found for these hominins dates them 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.  The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History has a wealth of information about heidelbergensis here.
 
 
 
 
 
1 HOMO HABILIS ~ NICKNAME: Handyman LIVED: 2.4 to 1.6 million years ago HABITAT: Tropical Africa DIET: Omnivorous – nuts, seeds, tubers, fruits, some meat
2 HOMO SAPIEN ~ NICKNAME: Human LIVED: 200,000 years ago to present HABITAT: All DIET:Omnivorous - meat, vegetables, tubers, nuts, pizza, sushi
3 HOMO FLORESIENSIS ~ NICKNAME: Hobbit LIVED: 95,000 to 13,000 years ago HABITAT: Flores, Indonesia (tropical) DIET: Omnivorous - meat included pygmy stegodon, giant rat
4 HOMO ERECTUS ~ NICKNAME: Erectus LIVED: 1.8 million years to 100,000 years ago HABITAT: Tropical to temperate - Africa, Asia, Europe DIET: Omnivorous - meat, tubers, fruits, nuts
5 PARANTHROPUS BOISEI ~ NICKNAME: Nutcracker man LIVED: 2.3 to 1.4 million years ago HABITAT: Tropical Africa DIET: Omnivorous - nuts, seeds, leaves, tubers, fruits, maybe some meat
6 HOMO HEIDELBERGENSIS ~ NICKNAME: Goliath LIVED: 700,000 to 300,000 years ago HABITAT:Temperate and tropical, Africa and Europe DIET: Omnivorous - meat, vegetables, tubers, nuts
7 HOMO NEANDERTHALENSIS ~ NICKNAME: Neanderthal LIVED: 250,000 to 30,000 years ago HABITAT: Europe and Western Asia DIET: Relied heavily on meat, such as bison, deer and musk ox
 
The Smithsonian site also has a very nice interactive Human Family Tree.  The reasons why Homo sapien supplanted the other homo species is an area of active research.  It is interesting to note that even though our species survives to this day, we carry a bit of DNA from H neanderthalensis, indicating that H sapien and H neanderthalensis did more than just live during the same time period.  And for fun, you can check out the relationship among H heidelbergensis and other Homo species and Sasquatch/BigFoot - details here and here.
 
 



12 comments:

S3 said...

Heidelberg man looks more like an Obamanationus voterus to me.

Dr S said...

S3 - it took a few seconds to sink in, and then I had to chuckle - good one!

S3 said...

My favorite missing link is the Piltdown man.

Dr S said...

Yes, a good one, but you have to admit, that is one of the great things about science - it is self-monitoring and self-correcting; even if it takes a while!!

Just Wonderin' said...

So, Dr. S., as an accomplished scientist and associate of brilliant scientific colleagues, what is man becoming? What's on the evolutionary front? Are we becoming smarter? Stupider? (My vote.) More compassionate? Less comapssionate? Docile? Aggressive? What's up?

Bizzy Brain said...

Wonder no more, Just Wonderin'. Herbert George Wells probably answered your question in the Time Machine. An English inventor travels into the future and meets the Eloi, a society of childlike adults. They live in small communities within large and futuristic yet slowly deteriorating buildings, doing no work and having a frugivorous diet.. His efforts to communicate with them are hampered by their lack of curiosity or discipline, and he speculates that they are a peaceful communist society, the result of humanity conquering nature with technology, and subsequently evolving to adapt to an environment in which strength and intellect are no longer advantageous to survival.
Later in the dark, he is approached menacingly by the Morlocks, ape-like troglodytes who live in darkness underground and surface only at night. Within their dwellings he discovers the machinery and industry that makes the above-ground paradise possible. He alters his theory, speculating that the human race has evolved into two species: the leisured classes have become the ineffectual Eloi, and the downtrodden working classes have become the brutish light-fearing Morlocks. He explores the Morlock tunnels, learning that they feed on the Eloi. His revised analysis is that their relationship is not one of lords and servants but of livestock and ranchers. The Time Traveller theorizes that intelligence is the result of and response to danger; with no real challenges facing either species, they have both lost the spirit, intelligence, and physical fitness of Man at its peak.

Dr S said...

Just Wonderin' - check out the link below and you will perhaps conclude that we are on the downhill side of the mountain. Human brains have been getting smaller for the past 20,000 years, and so HG Wells may not be too far off!!

http://discovermagazine.com/2010/sep/25-modern-humans-smart-why-brain-shrinking

Dr S said...

Also Just Wonderin' - here is a most interesting discussion of exactly what you are asking - enlightening.

http://www.sciencechatforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=67&t=16405

Tex said...

Hey, Biz, that Eloi character in the movie named Weena, played by Yvette Mimieux, looked mighty tasty.

Dr S said...

Wow - Yvette Mimieux - a name that I had not thought of in decades! I am planning on doing a pictoral post of her; it looks as though she turned 70 this year. Back in the day, she was one of "the" girls.

Tex said...

Dr. S, sounds like you thought about her a lot way back when. She first appeared in movies in 1960. You would have been about 14 then, with all those adolescent hormones raging and churning. Lol!

Dr S said...

Tex - you are exactly right. Seems like Mimieux, Bardot and Welch were among the eye-candy of the day, and I still remember many fellows my age being enthralled with Hayley Mills after The Parent Trap came out.