Cosmos - - Special Feature - CREDIT: MAURI­CIO AN­TON / GETTY IMAGES

Homo hei­del­ber­ge­sis, also known as Hei­del­berg Man. A de­scen­dant of Homo erec­tus who reached the colder climes of Europe, about 700,000 years ago, was Homo heidelbergensis. This ho­minid is thought to have evolved from Homo erec­tus in Africa – where his re­mains were ini­tially re­ferred to as Homo rhode­sien­sis – be­fore ven­tur­ing into Europe.

It’s pos­si­ble that H. heidelbergensis trekked east into Asia – based on a skull found in China – but most re­mains show them spread­ing north and west into the colder re­gions of Europe and Great Bri­tain, thanks in part to their stocky build.

Homo heidelbergensis was a skilled hunter – he made spears to kill large game such as horses and ele­phants – and was the first to build sim­ple shel­ters.

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