Homo cepranensis

Three hundred times as ancient as Rome

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Homo cepranensis is the name Mallegni et al. (2003) gave to a supposedly new type of hominid. It was based on a single skullcap (see below) dating to 800,000–900,000 BP, unearthed in a road construction project near Ceprano, Italy in 1994 (Manzi et al. 2001). The fact that the material was of human origin was recognized by Italo Biddittu of Rome's Institute of Paleontology, who happened to be present when the remains came to light. Most paleontologists now think, however, that the skullcap in question should actually be assigned to Homo erectus.

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homo cepranenis
Holotype of Homo cepranenis. Numbers represent the following morphological features: Features 1 to 4 (black) traits that are more exclusive of Mid-Pleistocene specimens (i.e. 1: incomplete sulcus supraorbitalis, 2: frontal tuber weakly developed medially shifted, 3: supraorbital region medially concave, 4: intermediate position of the external auditory meatus in regard to the processus zygomaticus temporalis); 5 and 6 (blue) = more derived traits (i.e. 5: straight torus occipitalis transversus, 6: medio-lateral concavity of the articular tubercle); 7 to 10 (green) = more primitive traits (i.e. 7: petro-tympanic crest orientated downward, 8: opisthocranion coincident with inion, 9: processus retromastoideus, 10: torus angularis parietalis). Image: Wikimedia

homo cepranenis
Location of Ceprano (red dot)