Homo heidelbergensis is the name originally given to one mandible specimen discovered in German quarry in 1907. In 1908, Otto Schoetensack published a paper proposing that H. heidelbergensis designate an entirely new species of hominid, although scientists were skeptical at the time.
According to PBS, the brain of H. heidelbergensis was larger and more rounded than H. erectus, as well as teeth smaller than H. erectus but larger than those of modern humans.
According to ArchaeologyInfo, H. heidelbergensis is not universally accepted and in fact, many researchers argue that the specimen is not valid. In fact, the proposed species is so similar to others that "it is difficult to create a list of features that differentiate heidelbergensis from erectus or H. neanderthalensis."
Scientists have had difficulties distinguishing between some specimens. For example, a specimen unearthed in Greece, Petralona 1, which was classified under Heidelbergensis, but other scientists classify it as Neanderthalensis or Erectus. Another found in France, Tautavel Man, also showed Erectus traits. Kabwe Man (unearthed in Zambia) had an almost completely human brain capacity.
According to evolutionary dating, H. Heidelbergensis lived from 600,000 to about 100,000 years ago. Scientists suggest that various tools found in or around discovery sites belonged to H. Heidelbergensis.
Most creationists conclude that H. Heidelbergensis (like Homo ergaster, Homo erectus, and Homo neanderthalensis) are merely variants of modern man. The physical features do not offer significant proof of being far removed from modern humans. In fact, recent research shows that their ear structures were very similar to modern humans', and were well within the range for human hearing.
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- Evolution: Humans: Origins of Humankind: Homo heidelbergensis
- ArchaeologyInfo: Homo Heidelbergensis
- Wikipedia entry on H. Heidelbergensis