Homo heidelbergensis, a physiological variant of the species Homo sapien, is an extinct species that existed in both Europe and parts of Asia from 700,000 years ago to roughly 300,000 years ago (carbon dating). This “subspecies” of Homo sapiens, as it is formally classified, is a direct ancestor of anatomically modern humans, and is understood to have many of the same physiological characteristics as those of anatomically modern humans while still expressing many of the same physiological attributes of Homo erectus, an earlier human ancestor. Since Homo heidelbergensis represents attributes of both species, it has therefore earned the classification as a subspecies of Homo sapiens and Homo erectus. Homo heidelbergensis, like anatomically modern humans, is the byproduct of millions of years of natural selection and genetic variation. It is understood through current scientific theory that roughly 200,000 years ago (carbon dating), archaic Homo sapiens and Homo erectus left Africa in pursuit of the small and large animal game that were migrating north into Europe and Asia. As they migrated north with their food source, the climates that these individuals faced were completely opposite to the environment that they were subjected to in Africa.
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