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Mauer 1 Mandible Replica or Homo heidelbergensis. The Mauer 1 Mandible Replica was discovered in a gravel pit near Heidelberg, Germany in 1907. Its lack of a chin, ample retro-molar space and smaller tooth size earned the distinction of it being considered the type specimen of Homo heidelbergensis. The jaw is dated to be approximately 500,000 years old.
Mauer 1 Mandible or Homo heidelbergensis (also H. sapiens heidelbergensis) is an extinct species or subspecies of archaic human which existed during the Middle Pleistocene. It was subsumed as a subspecies of H. erectus in 1950 as H. e. heidelbergensis, but towards the end of the century, it was more widely classified as its own species.
It is debated whether or not to constrain H. heidelbergensis to only Europe or to also include African and Asian specimens, and this is further confounded by the type specimen (Mauer 1) Mauer 1 Mandible being a jawbone, because jawbones feature few diagnostic traits and are generally missing among Middle Pleistocene specimens.
Thus, it is debated if some of these specimens could be split off into their own species or a subspecies of H. erectus.
The anatomical analysis of the lower jaw of Mauer or Mauer 1 Mandible in its 1908 original species description by Otto Schoetensack was based largely on the expertise of Breslau professor Hermann Klaatsch, which was only hinted at in a brief acknowledgement in the preface.
In his original species description Schoetensack wrote that the “nature of our object” reveals itself “at first sight” since “a certain disproportion between the jaw and the teeth” is obvious: “The teeth are too small for the bone. The available space would allow for a far greater flexibility of development.”
“It shows a combination of features, that has been previously found neither on a recent nor on a fossilized human mandible. Entirely missing is the one feature, which is regarded as particularly human, namely an outer projection of the chin portion, yet this deficiency is found to be combined with extremely strange dimensions of the mandibular body.
The completely preserved teeth bear the stamp human as evidence: The Mauer 1 Mandible canines show no trace of a stronger expression in relation to the other groups of teeth. They suggest a moderate and harmonious co-evolution, as it is the case in recent humans.”
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