Homo Rhodesiensis

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Homo rhodesiensis, also known as Rhodesian man, was a hominid of the Genus Homo, whose fossil skull was discovered in Broken Hill Northern Rhodesia (now Kabwe, Zambia) in 1921 by Tom Zwiglaar, a Swiss miner. Rhodesian Man is dated to be between 125,000 and 300,000 years old. The cranial capacity of the Broken Hill skull has been estimated at 1,100 cm³.

The skull of Homo rhodesiensis belonged to an extremely robust individual, and has the comparatively largest brow-ridges of any known hominid remains. It was described as having a broad face similar to Homo neanderthalensis (ie. large nose and thick protruding brow ridges), and has been interpreted as an "African Neanderthal". However, when regarding the skulls extreme robustness, recent research has pointed to several features intermediate between modern Homo sapiens and Neanderthal. Most current experts believe Rhodesian Man to be within the group of Homo heidelbergensis though other designations such as Archaic Homo sapiens and Homo sapiens rhodesiensis have also been proposed. According to Tim White, it is probable that Rhodesian Man was the ancestor of Homo sapiens idaltu (Herto Man), which would be itself at the origin of Homo sapiens sapiens. No direct linkage of the species can so far be determined.

Other morphologically-comparable remains have been found from the same, or earlier, time period in southern Africa (Hopefield or Saldanha), East Africa (Bodo, Ndutu, Eyasi, Ileret) and North Africa (Salé, Rabat, Dar-es-Soltane, Djbel Irhoud, Sidi Aberrahaman, Tighenif). Another specimen "the hominid from Lake Ndutu" may approach 400,000 years old, and Clarke in 1976 classified it as Homo erectus. Undirect cranial capacity estimate is 1100 ml. Also supratoral sculus morphology and presence of protuberance as suggest Philip Rightmire : give the Nudutu occiput an apprence which is also unlike that of Homo Erectus but Stinger 1986 pointed that thickened iliac pillar is typical for Homo erectus.