Re: Homo heidelbergensis

Stanley Friesen (
Mon, 30 May 1994 16:30:45 GMT

In article <2s30as$>,
Bill Turkel <> wrote:
>What sort of scientific evidence would you look for to decide whether
>or not a hominid should be included in _Homo sapiens_? (If this is a
>stupid question, could you suggest some literature?)
Well, the first thing one tries to look for is evidence of sustained
seperation between two sets of forms over time. This is evidence of
the sort of breeding barrier that is basic to the biological species

In the case of the neanderthal, we have this evidence in the
Mid-East, where neanderthals and modern humans coexisted for
over 40,000 years. In my book this pretty much *proves* that
the neanderthals were a seperate species. (The longest that
purely cultural factors have been able to keep two con-specific
population seperate is about 2500 years in the case of the Jews,
and that is an extremely unusal case).

Another factor that is used in the absence of real population
data as above is scope of variation and differentiation in
comparison to living relatives. That is forms that differ
as much as two closely related similar species do today are
tentatively considered seperate species. In the case of
hominids this is difficult to apply, as there is only one
living species. However a slight variant is available if we
note that the neanderthals are a seperate species, we can use
them as a second standard species. Now we note that the
heidelberg people differed from living humans *and* from neanderthals
about as much as neanderthals do from modern humans, and we
postulate on this basis that they too were a seperate species.

[For the earliest hominids we can use the living pongids as a
standard, since they differed little from pongids].


May the peace of God be with you.