Image: Mauer Jaw Homo heidelbergensis angled view

Mauer Jaw Homo heidelbergensis angled view

Cast of Mauer 1, a lower jaw discovered in 1907 in Mauer, near Heidelberg, Germany. This jaw is the ‘type specimen’ or official representative of this species. It was discovered by workers at a gravel quarry which had previously yielded many fossils of extinct mammals. Lying at a depth of about 24 metres, its age is estimated to be between 400,000 and 600,000 years old

Carl Bento
© Australian Museum


This species had a strongly built lower jaw for the attachment of strong chewing muscles. As with earlier hominins, the lower jaw did not have a protruding, pointed chin. The teeth were arranged in the jaw so that they formed a parabolic shape (curved at the front then splayed out toward the back) and were smaller than those of earlier species (but larger than those of modern humans).

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