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Prehistoric Scratchpad

Site in northern Spain containing the oldest known Neanderthals (430,000 YA) from DNA, originally considered Heidelberg Man fossils. These individuals were also found to have mitochondrial dna distantly related to the Denisovans. This suggests that later Neanderthals acquired their mitochondrial dna from a later population, perhaps from one migrating from Africa. These individuals have similar post-cranial skeletons as Neanderthals, but smaller brain mass relative to body mass. The only non-permafrost site that allows for DNA studies from the Middle Pleistocene. These remains have been used as a representative for archaic humans in studies on human body plans and facial growth patterns.

Sima de los Huesos Web Pages[]


  • Order Primates (Primates) - Mammals with long arms.
    • Family Homonidae (Homonids)
      • Genus Homo (Homo) - The human genus.
        • Species Heidelbergensis (Heidelberg Man) - Thought to be the direct predecessor to modern humans.
        • Species Neanderthal (Neanderthals) - The closest known extinct species to humans.
        • Species Denisovan (Denisovans) - A species of humans in Asia that interbred with modern humans.

Sima de los Huesos In the News[]

Homo Heidelbergensis was Only Slightly Taller than the Neanderthal (2012)[]

Study on sizes of homonins shows remarkable stability over 2 MY until Homo Sapiens, slightly taller, came around.
See also Neanderthals, Heidelberg Man, Modern Humans, Sima de los Huesos

Human Body has Gone Through Four Stages of Evolution (2015)[]

430 TYO fossils represent the base human body plan for the 3rd of four stages of human evolution (tall, wide, robust bodies, exclusively terrestrial bipedalism), which is shared by all homo members, until humans (taller, lighter, narrower) appeared.
See also Neanderthals, Modern Humans, Sima de los Huesos

Facial Growth Pattern Different Between Humans and Neanderthals (2015)[]

Humans upper jaw bone growth retracts in childhood, while that of Neanderthals and other archaic humans continues
See also Neanderthals, Modern Humans, Gibraltar Neanderthal Sites, La Quina, Sima de los Huesos

400,000 Year Old Fossils from Spain Provide Earliest Genetic Evidence of Neanderthals (2016)[]

Fossils of uncertain ancestry found to be early Neanderthal
See also Neanderthals, Denisovans, Sima de los Huesos