Homo heidelbergensis (also Homo rhodesiensis) is an extinct species of the genus Homo which lived in Africa, Europe and western Asia from at least 600,000 years ago. It survived until about 200,000 to 250,000 years ago. Its brain was nearly as large as that of a modern Homo sapiens. It is very likely the direct ancestor of Homo sapiens (Africa) and the Neanderthals (Europe), and perhaps also the Denisovans (Central Asia). First discovered near Heidelberg in Germany in 1907.
So far we have unearthed fossil evidence from more than 20 different human-like species, known as hominins, who are more closely related to humans than any of the apes alive today. Meet some of our oldest relatives below and discover what insights they can provide about our own evolution.
Homo heidelbergensis lived around 600,000 to 250,000 years ago. They were distinctly human in physique and behaviour and evidence suggests these ancient people were accomplished tool makers and could skillfully butcher large animals.