Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Martin S. Fischer & Hans-Rainer Duncker
The Homo sapiens lineage may be as old as 500,000 years. Although the oldest fossil remains only date to about 200,000 years, there is growing evidence that the H. sapiens lineage may be much older. Assuming that H. neandertalensis is its own species (and evidence for this assumption grows), then the last common ancestor of both terminal species of hominoid evolution may have lived around that time. Paleoanthropology has not yet sufficiently resolved the taxonomic status of earlier Homo fossils such as H. antecessor (more than 800,000 years from Spain), which might as well be a grade as H. heidelbergensis . The oldest Neandertal lived at least 250,000 years ago. A caveat of paleoanthropology and the reconstruction of the evolutionary history of H. sapiens is first the decoupling of fossilized information (such as skull anatomy) from the crucial processes (sexuality, social organization, cognition, cultural evolution) in H. sapiens evolution. For ...