“Talking about human evolution during this period has become practically impossible due to the lack of appropriate terminology that takes into account the geographical variations of humans,” said Dr Mirjana Roksandic, professor of anthropology at the University of Winnipeg in Canada, the study leader and one of the team’s original study authors.
Recent DNA evidence has shown that some fossils in Europe which H. heidelbergensis were in fact the first Neanderthals, making the name redundant. For the same reason, the name heidelbergensis should be dropped when describing East Asian human fossils, said co-author Xiu-Jie Wu of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing.
What makes the whole story even more obscure is the fact that African fossils from this period H. heidelbergensis to be called and sometimes Homo rhodesiensis. H. rhodesiensis is not well defined and the name has never been widely accepted.
This is in part because of his association with Cecil Rhodes and the horrific crimes committed during colonial rule in Africa, making the name an unacceptable tribute as work is underway to decolonize science.
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