This skull was the first early human fossil discovered in Africa.
It belongs to Homo heidelbergensis, which, along with its predecessor Homo erectus, was one of the first human species to live across large areas of the world. Homo heidelbergensis fossils have been discovered in Africa and across Europe.
Homo heidelbergensis became established as a species around 600,000 years ago. As populations separated and encountered new environments, regional differences began to emerge. These populations may have given rise to later species such as Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) in Europe, and modern humans (Homo sapiens) in Africa.
Homo heidelbergensis fossils show a mix of Homo erectus features and later human characteristics. In some regions, Homo heidelbergensis became more adapted to the cold than previous humans and had an average brain capacity almost as large as humans today. This skull, approximately 300,000 years old, has a capacity of 1,280 cubic centimetres - the current average is 1,350 cubic centimetres.