Wikipedia logoThis page is sourced from Wikipedia

Wikipedia data hasn't been reviewed for accuracy by the Gignos Research Team

51.27, 11.05

The Bilzingsleben site is an extraordinary archaeological and paleoanthropological site in northern Thuringia. The finds were dated to 400,000 years old and attributed to Homo erectus. They are among the earliest traces of the genus Homo in Central Europe. The site is located about 1.5 km south of the village of Bilzingsleben on the edge of the Wipper Valley. The surface of the former quarry "Steinrinne" is about 35 m above today's floodplain and at 175 m above sea level. The small spur-like elevation is framed by the Wipper in the east and the Wirbelbach in the south.

By 2003, Bilzingsleben had provided 38 fossils of the genus Homo. These include 28 skull parts – including remnants of the occipital bone, parietal bone and frontal bone – a toothless branch of a lower jaw and nine individual teeth[2]. The remnants belong to at least four individuals, with one juvenile individual among them.

The fossils examined by Prague researcher Emanuel Vlček (1925–2006) were attributed by him to Homo erectus and in 1978 designated as its subspecies Homo erectus bilzingslebenensis. According to his analyses, there are similarities in particular to the Homo erectus fossil OH 9 from the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania to the Peking Man (Sinanthropus III) and to the Java Man (Pithecanthropus VII). A reconstruction of the skull shows that it has an elongated shape with a typical "erectoid" tent-like cross-section and a strong constriction behind the eyes (postorbital). The occipital bone is angled and has a powerful transverse bulge, while the over-eye bulge above the nose is not interrupted. The lower jaw also shows strong similarities to the Peking man.

Internationally, European finds of fossils of the genus Homo from this epoch are often assigned to the chronospecies Homo heidelbergensis, from which the Neanderthals emerged; however, the transitions from Homo erectus to Homo heidelbergensis to early Neanderthals are fluid, which is why different temporal boundaries are represented in the literature.