The status of Homo heidelbergensis (Schoetensack 1908)

Evol Anthropol. 2012 May;21(3):101-7. doi: 10.1002/evan.21311.


The species Homo heidelbergensis is central to many discussions about recent human evolution. For some workers, it was the last common ancestor for the subsequent species Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis; others regard it as only a European form, giving rise to the Neanderthals. Following the impact of recent genomic studies indicating hybridization between modern humans and both Neanderthals and "Denisovans", the status of these as separate taxa is now under discussion. Accordingly, clarifying the status of Homo heidelbergensis is fundamental to the debate about modern human origins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anthropology, Physical*
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / analysis
  • Fossils*
  • Germany
  • Hominidae / anatomy & histology
  • Hominidae / classification*
  • Hominidae / genetics
  • Humans
  • Mandible / anatomy & histology
  • Neanderthals
  • Phylogeny
  • Skull / anatomy & histology


  • DNA, Mitochondrial