« 7.2 First Traces of Man-like Creatures |Contents | 7.4 The Piltdown Sub-Man »

7.3 The Heidelberg Sub-Man

After this first glimpse of something at least sub-human in the record of geology, there is not another fragment of human or man-like bone yet known from that record for an interval of hundreds of thousands of years. It is not until we reach deposits which are stated to be of the Second Interglacial period, 200,000 years later, 200,000 or 250,000 years ago, that another little scrap of bone comes to hand. Then we find a jaw-bone.

This jaw-bone was found in a sand-pit near Heidelberg, at a depth of eighty feet from the surface, and it is not the jawbone of a man as we understand man, but it is man-like in every respect, except that it has absolutely no trace of a chin; it is more massive than a man’s, and its narrowness behind could not, it is thought, have given the tongue sufficient play for articulate speech. It is not an ape’s jaw-bone; the teeth are human. The owner of this jaw-bone, has been variously named Homo Heidelbergensis and Paleoanthropus Heidelbergensis, according to the estimate formed of his humanity or sub-humanity by various authorities. He lived in a world not remotely unlike the world of the still earlier sub- man of the first implements; the deposits in which it is found show that there were elephants, horses, rhinoceroses, bison, a moose, and so forth with it in the world, but the sabre-toothed tiger was declining and the lion was spreading over Europe. The implements of this period (known as the Chellean period) are a very considerable advance upon those of the Pliocene Age. They are well made but* very much bigger* than any truly human implements. The Heidelberg man may have had a very big body and large fore limbs. He may have been a woolly, strange-looking creature.

« 7.2 First Traces of Man-like Creatures |Contents | 7.4 The Piltdown Sub-Man »

comments powered by Disqus

Table Of Contents