Review  of the Ceprano Calvaria 2007


By Rob Walsh

(Lewis Research Unit)


It is generally held that the first bipedal hominids stood up and walked in Africa. The oldest known so far, Ardipithecus ramidus kadabba, from Ethiopia dates over 5Ma, with Australopithecus anamensis from Kenya dating to 4.2Ma. (Lemonick, Dorfman 2001).

The next jump in the hominid evolution story, came around 1.9 Ma ago, with the emergence of the habilines; Homo habilis/rudolfensis and Homo ergaster in East and South Africa. The role of the habilines is still somewhat unclear, but none the less pivotal. Whatever its evolutionary origins, Homo ergaster is generally considered the direct ancestor of the hominid type that radiated out of Africa to populate the 'old world', namely Homo erectus (R.Leakey 1977,1994; Rightmire 1989).

Homo erectus has left the world of palaeoanthropology with a plethora of artefacts to mark its passage through history. The distribution of Acheulean stone tools, with its advanced knapping style and typology, indicates the mental agility of Homo erectus. The omnivorous diet, aided Homo erectus in its progression across the old world into Java, China, and Europe, with the acquired skills of making fire and hunting, gathering, and scavenging (Rightmire 1989).

Homo erectus is therefore correctly identified as the hominid that initially settled the old world, but until only recently, the oldest hominid remains in Europe were those of the later Mid-Pleistocene species Homo heidelbergensis (Boxgrove,Petralona,Arago).

In 1994, the fragmented remains of a cranium, belonging to a Homo erectus were carefully excavated from a roadbed at the Italian town of Ceprano, near Rome. The pieces were identified as pertaining to a Homo erectus and questions started to be asked as to how this hominid had reached Italy, survived, and interacted with its environment and indeed other possible contemporary hominids in the vicinity of Ceprano (Ascenzi, Biddittu, Segre, Cassoli, Segre-Naldini 1996).                                                          


The ancestors of Ceprano and the Pleistocene routes to Italy. Homo erectus was peripatetic, the first hominid outside Africa, for a variety of possible reasons, i.e. bottlenecking, following

migrating fauna, or the expulsion of Mode 1 tool users by the expanding Mode 2 tool users in Africa (Lahr & Foley 1994; Carbonell et al.,  1999).  

There were three quite plausible routes for Homo erectus to have entered Italy.

Firstly through the Levantine corridor, into Europe through the Eastern gate, by following the Nile valley out of Africa (Bar Yosef & Belfer-Cohen 2001). Evidence of occupation in the Levantine comes from Gesher Benot Ya'aqov in Israel's Dead sea rift (Gilead 1968). Discovered in the 1930's, layer II-6 is located  4m above the Brunhes/Matuyama boundary, and therefore dates to around 780Ka (Feibel et al., 1998).

Archaeological artefacts found at level 4 confirms a hominid presence with hand axes making up 72% of the overall assemblages (Goran-Imber et al., 1992).

The GBY site itself is too young to be the ancestors of the Ceprano people, but may be descendants of a previous hominid expanse out of Africa, which led to Ceprano and possibly its Spanish cousin Homo antecessor (TD- 6) (Carbonell et al., 1995).

Better evidence for the Ceprano progenitor(s) that may supply a migratory route from the Levantine into Italy, derives from the sites of Ubeidiya, Everon and Latamne. These sites date to 1.4Ma. Mode 2 stone tools betray the presence of hominids at these sites (Clarke 1967, 1968).

The second possible ancestor(s) of Ceprano are found in Georgia, at the site of Dmanisi. Here two 1.7Ma crania, and a mandible reminiscent of Homo ergaster, along with Mode 1 pebble choppers have been excavated (Lontcho 2000; Schuster 2000).

The third claim for an ancestor(s) for Ceprano, and subsequent migratory route to Italy comes from north Africa itself (Tobias 1998; Gore 1997).

Enough evidence of Homo erectus has been found in Kenya (Turkana) 1.9Ma to 1.5Ma, (R Leakey 1977, 1992) Ethiopia (Eritrea) 1.4Ma, (Schuster 1998) and Algeria (Ternifine) 1Ma-700Ka, which points to a direct crossing from north Africa to Italy via Sicily, transversing the Straits of Messina (Tobias 1998; Gore 1997; Villa 2001).


In 1984, Shackleton produced a map that showed how during the last glaciation, sea levels lowering to 120m, reduced the distance Cap Bon and Sicily to about 60km, while a narrow land bridge closed the Straits of Messina (Villa 2001; Shackleton 1984).

Prof. E.P.V. Tobias, Director of the Sterkfontein Research Unit, Wits. University, S. Africa, highlights evidence which strongly supports a land bridge from Tunis/Tripoli across Malta, (Tobias 1998) Sicily and the Straits of Messina to Calabria in southern Italy. Prof. Aldo Segre, La Sapienza University, Rome, Italy, is a strong supporter of this direct crossing, pointing to direct evidence of Villafranchian/Galerian land ties, that both fauna and hominids could have crossed from north Africa to Italy (Segre & Ascenzi 1984).

In Indonesia, on the island of Flores, stone tools calibrate that Homo erectus had lived and manufactured tools there circa 1Ma, having to transverse at least 19km of open waters to have arrived on the island. Good evidence that Homo erectus had the cognitive and manual skills to cross open waters (Moorwood et al.,1998; Roberts 1997).


Social/behavioural patterns. To have survived for any length of time, the Ceprano hominids would have needed to co-operate with each other and interact with their environment. The social structure could have taken many forms, mirrored by a variety of modern primates. e.g. (Wrangham 1987; Potts 1987)

a) Gibbons – monogamous with no sexual dimorphism.

b) Gorillas – unimale polygamy with alpha male having exclusive access to group females. 

c) Orang-u-tans – exploded unimale polygamy with a male having access to geographically separated females. 

d) Chimpanzees – multimale polygamy in which all males co-operate to defend the group females (Wrangham 1987; Potts 1987).

Baring in mind modern primate demographic factors and statistics in mind, when applied to the Australopithecines, dimorphism appears similar to baboons, with males up to 12 inches taller than females. In Homo erectus, a shift towards anatomical egalitarianism is discernable, with males no more than 20% bigger than females. 

This suggests more co-operation in the group as a whole, which would have galvanised the troop, and may have led to a degree of altruistic behaviour. KNM-ER 1808, a 1.5Ma Homo ergaster from Lake Turkana, Africa supplies palaeoanthropologists with proof that hominids of this antiquity cared for each other. In the case of KNM-ER 1808, a female hominid who had contracted a terminal illness from eating an excess of vitamin A (possibly a carnivores liver), managed to live for some time in the treacherous East African environment. This could only have been due to the care and attention of other hominids in her troop, feeding and protecting her (R.Leakey 1977, 1992).

Social caring interaction among Homo erectus can be further calibrated by results from the study of skulls (Lahr 1996). 

Scientists studying infant brain size, have calculated, (mainly by studying Turkana boys skull and establishing from it the measurements of his mothers pelvic opening), that Homo erectus neonate brain size was approximately 275 cubic cm3, which infers that intense parental care for the infants initial developing years, was necessary as Homo erectus had departed from apelike growth patterns. The application of the ‘Grandmother hypothesis’ may be appropriate to Homo erectus, and succeeding hominid species given these calculations and the possible protraction of the female menopause. From this information, it is possible to deduce that the helplessness of modern human infants, was present in Homo erectus, and evolved as a result of cultural adaptations influencing biological development.

Homo erectus babies were born earlier than the gestation time equation dictates, and as the brain grew rapidly following birth, to absorb information so parental care became essential to protect and aid development of the offspring’s cognitive abilities. (R.Leakey 1971,1992; Walker & Shipman 1996; Walker & R.Leakey 1993).


 Foraging for food/defence against predators. Small fauna in the Ceprano basin area included antelope, roe and red deer, with large fauna described as Mammuthus trogontherii, and hippo sp. Such fauna would have afforded plenty of scavenging opportunities to the Ceprano hominids. With large predators present in the area, hominids may have been able to supplement their diet of fruit and non-meat food by scavenging carrion. This meat would be vital to maintaining the large brain and relatively small gut of Ceprano man. The nearby rivers of the Liri, Sacco and Merringo, would have provided vital water sources (Ascenzi et al., 1996).

It may be the case that the Ceprano hominids used subsistence strategies, which later more sophisticated Neanderthals used in Europe and the Levant.

Dan Lieberman, of Harvard University, and John Shea, of New York State University, Stony Brook, have identified the two most probable hunter-gatherer subsistence strategies, by analysing Mousterian tools and fauna remains at areas occupied by Neanderthals and early anatomically modern sapiens such as Tabun in Israel. These strategies can also be applied to the Ceprano community.

1. The ‘circulating-mobility’ pattern, involves the continuous moving and re-establishment of campsites, as the group sought to occupy separate areas of its territory, usually due to fluctuations in weather patterns or seasonal changes which had a direct effect not only on the areas in which they dwelt, but also the available resources.                           

2. The ‘radiating-mobility’ strategy states that hominids had a semi-permanent base camp  from which hunting and gathering/scavenging forays were conducted. Further, smaller ‘work camps’ would have then been constructed to import and process fauna resources.

The Ceprano hominids would have employed a hunting/scavenging strategy to secure valuable food sources (D.Lieberman & Shea 1995).

The dangers of predators must have been a constant concern for the Ceprano hominids, and this is important when evaluating defence strategies. As currently in the worlds natural environments, predation in the Pleistocene was a fact of everyday existence for the Ceprano hominids. While accepting the scraps of carrion left by large predators, I’m sure that the hominids were still grateful it was not themselves on the menu.

Across in Spain at a site called Venta Micena, part of the Orce basin area, evidence in the form of a skilful removal of canine teeth, from large cats, (Megantereon whitei), which were then possibly used for cutting or stabbing implements, demonstrates contemporary hominids with Ceprano, not only were able to avoid predators, but by using parts of those large predators, furthered their own existence (Gore 1997; Palmqvist 1997; Palmqvist and Arribas 2001).

The Ceprano hominids would have shown the same ingenuity in dealing with everyday predators, warding them off, with raw materials, such as stones.


Descendants of Ceprano man. No genetic evidence was obtainable from the Ceprano calvarium, so in order to assess if the Ceprano hominids could have left descendants, it is necessary to identify the morphological characteristics of the calvaria, and make appropriate multivariate comparisons with two more recent mid-Pleistocene crania.

Arago 21: Over sixty fossils dating to approximately 400Ka have been excavated over a 25 year period at the Arago cave, Tautavel, France. Ceprano has a cerebral value of        1157 ccm3, which compares well with the   proposed value of 1150 to 1200 ccm3 for    Arago 21 specimen. This 400Ka, Homo heidelbergensis, partial skull was discovered in 1971, has a flat receding forehead, with the facial area disproportionate to the anterior cranial fossa. The brow ridges resemble Ceprano in relation to the narrow frontal bone. The low orbits and somewhat broad nasal area also resemble the corresponding features on Ceprano. Arago 21’s inferorbital surface on the right aspect, is quite flat, in a plane that is coincident with the nasal aperture, similar to the later Neanderthals, but different to the hominids at Sima de los Husos. The thickness of the Ceprano right parietal in cross section is thicker than the corresponding area on Arago 21, suggesting a greater robusticity of the cranium. There are differences between the two craniums in the orientation of the nuchal plane, calibrating the archaic nature of the Ceprano calvarium (Tattersall 1995).


Petralona: Originally excavated in 1960 from the Petralona cave, north eastern Greece, this cranium is larger than Ceprano at a value of 1200 ccm3. It projects mosaic aspects of both Homo erectus and Neanderthal in appearance.

It has high parietals with a projecting front midline, also a retreating forehead, inflated zigomatic arches, and no angular torus, all reminiscent of a Neanderthal. However the angular occipital bone with a transverse torus effect is indicative of most Homo erectus, like Ceprano. The brow ridges are lower in position than Ceprano, and resemble the specimens from Brokenhill, Zambia (Tattersall 1995; Manzi et al., 2001).

Due to geographical separation, and the local pressures of ecological and environmental stresses, the Asian, Chinese, and European Homo erectus and their descendants would have accumulated different evolutionary novelties, as well as morphological changes in stature and physique. Biologically the separated hominids would have evolved genetic distance, which makes any determination on successful interbreeding across the old world questionable. Enough fragmentary evidence exists in Italy, in the form of hominid fossils and stone tools, to produce a table showing a hypothetical chronology (Manzi 1998; Villa 2001; Milliken 1997, 1998). Fig  1


           Possible Italian Chronology (Fig 1)


             Ceprano (740-900Ka)



Monte Poggiolo/Isernia Le Pineta (>0.78)



       Agnani-Colle Marino (>0.70)



 Notarchirico (levels: A,E,G,H) (<0.64)



Notarchirico (levels: A,B,C,D,F) (>0.5+-0.15)



   Fontana             Altamura         Loreto

(0.456+-0.00057)  (circa 400Ka)  (circa 450Ka)




Brain organisation & Language capacity in the Ceprano hominids. Good communication would have been vital to a protracted lineage from Ceprano man. Could Ceprano man have talked ? Studies of the supralaryngeal vocal tract structure of Homo erectus suggests not (Laitman 1984; P.Lieberman 1984, 1988). This view is calibrated by the scoliosis affected vertebral evidence of the African specimen KNM-WT15000, which shows that this individuals thoracic vertebrae foramen, could not conduct sufficient cerebral cord material to control the diaphragm when breathing, for the purposes of speech. The same specimens cranium betrays a brocas cap, which infers Homo ergaster had control of certain SVT muscles such as the tongue (Walker & Shipman 1996; Walker and R.Leakey 1993). Protolanguage must therefore have been the most probable mode of communication in these types of hominids.

Any basic form of communication, could have galvanised a troop of Homo erectus, and without the need for hours of non-productive grooming as in modern Chimpanzees, (Wrangham 1987; Potts 1987) more time could have been released for hunting, scavenging, and other activities. The larger the brain of a species, the more sociability that species shows, so encephalization is linked to continuous social interaction over many generations (Aiello & Dunbar 1993). The free time released in a subsistence community was the basis for the evolution of basic cultural structures, evolving with encephalization (Lewontin 1998).

The expansion of the frontal lobe, infers Homo erectus could sustain prolonged attention and convey his/her intentions to group members (Aiello & Wheeler 1995). It also means the important medial and ventral frontal cortical areas were developed enough to envisage Homo erectus had emotional expression, which is present in all great apes. Following this line of reasoning it seems plausible the Homo erectus brain was organised bilaterally in two hemispheres, with the same cerebral cortical and linguistical functional areas in the left hemisphere, found in later mid-Pleistocene hominids (Falk 1983, 1990; Fuster 1980; Holloway 1968). If the brain contained a Broca's area, then it must have also developed a Sylvian fissure, an area of cortical folds that separate the temporal lobe from the frontal lobe. This area as well as containing Brocas, also houses the Wernickes area, squeezed between the superior and middle temporal gyrus, the ventral premolar, and prefrontal areas, all concerned with the production and understanding of speech (Lieberman 1984). Other cranial fossil evidence which has been examined includes the ‘basic cranium’, or base of the hominid skull (Liberman & Crelin 1979). Flexation points to a more complex vocal tract construction, with the larynx migrating into a lower position. Turkana boy’s larynx was positioned in a remarkably similar position to a modern human childs, (approximately three to five years old), suggesting a type of protolanguage was possible in Homo ergaster, and therefore in the succeeding Homo erectus people (Walker & Shipman 1993).

Mode 1 stone tools found at Ceprano are further evidence that a motor thought process had developed in these Homo erectus. The knapping process evolved with the hominid mind, and increased technology was the result of encephalization/organisation, incorporating knowledge of the placement/location of raw materials and later knapping/retouching skills (Toth & Schick 1998). So what would have been the advantages of a modern type of vocal tract in Homo erectus ?:


1. Morphological ability to produce complex speech-even if the neurocortex was deficient of language centres.           

2. Speech would have helped in articulating daily events, give advanced warnings of possible predation, and assist in establishing the communities pecking order.

3. A more complex, socially interacting society, would have evolved a better chance of longevity in a hostile environment.

4. The ability to express abstract thought, leading to evolved spiritual beliefs and eventually structured religion.

5. Speech along with less grooming would have assisted in homogenizing the community.                              

There are many advantages that speech in Homo erectus would have brought. However the evidence both archaeological and biological points to the co-evolution of language and the brain (Martin 1983; Pinker 1994).



Geology, Archaeology, and overview of Palaeontology of Ceprano basin. Situated in the large Sacco-Liri river valley, the area around the Ceprano basin is varied in its geological composition, and represents a large amount of geological time, with phases spanning the Miocene, Pliocene, Pleistocene to present. A closer examination of the substratum which makes up the Sacco-Liri river valley, betrays a compacted series of buried palaeomorphological basins. Fault systems further depress the pre-Villafranchian tectonic movements and here is found the oldest quaternary sediments.  Specific rocks identify these time phases, also conveying how the general landscape and local topography would have appeared. Volcanic leucite crystals have been invaluable in dating the stratigraphy of the layers containing stone tools, and other palaeontology.  There are in fact eleven sites in and around the basin that provided useful dating material (K-ar), the material being leucit-lefrit lava. This lava has pinpointed the oldest point of the basin as Ceccano, with volcanic units measuring between 700+-20Ka, and 68+-20Ka.

Several Mode 1 choppers have been excavated from the basin, above the layer containing the calvarium. These included a denticulate scraper, choppers and convex scraper fragments, which re-enforce the hypothesis of a community of hominids living >740Ka at Ceprano.

The calvarium itself was located at a lower level, in a clay matrix devoid of any biostratigraphic evidence, thus denoting the skull deposited in a secondary context. The K-ar date from the strata overlying the calvarium, and from the Priverno basin, 25km from Ceprano, has greatly assisted in dating the sediments associated with the calvarium.

Fluvial facies, with yellow silt layers of clay, form the layer of the basin that is thick in faunal remains. The entire layer correlates to the Anagi basin and Ranuccio facies, some 22 miles from the Ceprano site.

Large fauna in the area, such as deer, antelope, and mammoth, demonstrates that various forms of animal were present, which could have provided plenty of hunting and scavenging potential. The presence of freshwater, the other essential ingredient in daily hominid survival has been established by shells of Unio (Auricolaria) sinuate, also Valvalta and Pisidium amnicum are located in levels below the calvarium.

Within the red clay of the Sacco-Liri river basin is found the Villafranchian macrofauna species Stephanorhinus etruscus, preserved in palaeokast, morphological cavities.

Other mega fauna around the basin area so far identified includes Megalocerous verticornis, Dama Dama clactoniana, Mammuthus trogontherii, and Hippopotamus sp. (Ascenzi et al., 1996, 2000).


Ceprano calvarium facts and comparisons.  Constructions of the calvarium, by  La Sapienza scientists, and then Prof. Ron Clarke, from  Witswatersrand university, Johannesburg, South Africa, and subsequently further additions by a multiple of scientists, such as Prof. M.A. de Lumley, Dr C. Lanoux, Dr. S. Ricci, and

Dr. F. Mallegni, have provided European palaeoanthropologists with a Homo erectus skull projecting unique morphological characteristics. Full details of the Ceprano reconstructions are available from the Journal of Human Evolution, Vol 31, Nov 1996, and Vol 39, Oct 2000 (Ascenzi et al., 1996, 2000; R.Clarke 2000).

Rightmire and Wood provide the criteria for Homo erectus typical features comparisons. When applied to the Ceprano calvarium, its similarities and differences with other Homo erectus crania, become apparent (Rightmire 1989).

Apparent features: a) Continuous supraorbital torus-large and continuous supraorbital ridges with a supratoral sulcus. b) Vault sides slope upward and medially from the base. c) Angular torus of the parietals. d) Cranial capacity between 850-1225cc e) Skull low, broad and elongated-a low but not a long cranial vault.      f) Postorbital constriction-minimal frontal breadth of 112mm is not as constrained as in other Homo erectus crania, (could relate to individual/geological variation). g) Sharply angled occipital bone with:                                i) highly placed /prominent nuchal crest              

ii) nuchal plane facing infero-posteriorly.           

h) Median saggital ridge-no metopic keeling as in other European/African erectus. Keeling only seems to occur in Australopithecines and Asian Homo erectus. i) Cranial wall unusually thick-Thick bone structure in vertical sides to vault, with a more inferiorly orientated plane than mid-Pleistocene Homo heidelbergensis, e.g. Petralona, Arago 21, and the Atapuercan specimens. j) Receding frontal contour- there is a slight median bump of the frontal squama, but

mainly a flat receding forehead. k) Maximum breadth across the angular torus or supramastoid crest-greatest width =161mm. l) Opistocranion coincident with inion-feature displayed in posterior aspect of Ceprano cavarium. m) Broad nasal area-large aspect to the Ceprano calvarium fronto-nasal suture. n) Sharply angulated occipital area-apparent on Ceprano calvarium-1st reconstruction gave an angle of 51degrees.       o) Discrepancy between inion and endinion-endinion some 22mm below inion. p) Lateral wing to supraorbital torus-this feature on the Ceprano calvarium is not anteriorly projected.  q) Marked supramastoid crests-large and pronounced in anterior/side views. r) Prominent angular torus at mastoid angle-a feature well defined in the calvaria s) Presence of an occipital mastoid ridge-the calvarium has a medial to digastic fossa ridge on either side of the occipitomastoid suture. t) Juxtamastoid ridge-this is apparent although due to the preservation of the calvarium, a marked mastoid crest/supramastoid sulcus is not visible.            u) Marked suprameatal tegmen-this is visible on the calvarium, although not particularly well pronounced. v) Occipital torus, with supratoral sulcus-prominent feature on Ceprano calvarium.           

w) Large posterior branch of middle meningeal artery and vein-well defined on the calvarium.

Non apparent features: a) Long cranial vault-shortened in calvarium. b) Pronounced postorbital constriction-see ‘f’ in apparent features. c) Frontal keel-see ’j’ in apparent features. d) Straight junction of torus and frontal squama-there is a supratoral sulcus, and the plane above the torus and glabella is concave.   e) Coronal ridge. f) Nuchal area extended for muscle attachment. g) Flattened and rectangular parietal-calvarium is slightly curved although square in shape. h) Low temporal squama.        i) Small mastoid process. j) Marked mastoid crest-see ‘t’. k) Occipital torus continuous with angular torus and supramastoid crest.                l) Supernumerary bones lambda.     

Due to the preservation of the calvarium, even after reconstruction, many features ascribed to Homo erectus by both Rightmire and Wood are not assessable.

Other points to mention which are immediately apparent on the reconstructed calvarium are: 



1. The thickness of the temporal at asterion=22mm (at 19mm only the Sangiran 31 compares favourably).

2. Continuous supraorbital torus/bursoidal in aspect and the calvarium has a continuous supraorbital torus of significant build.

3. There is a noticeable postorbital constriction index; M.9/M.44 X 100.

4. The calvariums frontal trait is not as extended as in other Homo erectus. Its index of minimum frontal breadth/biorbital breadth is only 84.8, compared with other Homo erectus/ergaster crania; (i) KNM-ER 3733=87.5 (ii) Sangiran 17= 86.1 (iii) Sambung=89.5

5. The frontal breadth index: (M.9/M.10 X 100)=89.8. This fits in with other adult Homo erectus crania as follows; (i)  KNM-ER 3733=

89.8 (ii) Sangiran 17=83.2 (iii) Samburg=87.9 (Ascenzi et al 1996, 2000; Rightmire 1989).


The actual calvarium is thought to have belonged to an adult male of 30-40 years of age at time of death.

It compares most favourably in many aspects with Olduvai hominid 9 from Tanzania, which is older at 1.1-1.7Ma, as follows:


                         (fig 2)                   Ceprano           OH9

Maximum cranial length     198mm       205mm


Occipital upper-scale index  48.4            43.9


Biorbital breadth                  125mm      123mm


Maximum frontal breadth    119mm      118mm


Minimum frontal breadth     106mm      100mm


Post orbital constriction index    84.8      81.3          


Supraorbital vertical thickness   18mm   21mm


Conclusion. In approximately 150Ka, the human race as we know it rose in Africa, and Homo sapiens migrated from that continent to replace the surviving hominids of the old world, deleting their existence and confining them to a part of the human family tree. As an isomorphic species, sophisticated language, complex social interaction, changes in diet and the ability to sit at the very summit of the food chain, commanding life and death over a huge slice of the fauna and flora that we share this amazing planet with, has provided us, as a species, with introspective thought on who we are ?, how we evolved ?, and has in turn given birth to great thinkers like Charles Darwin, James Hutton, Leonardo de Vinci, Albert Einstein, and many more.

The Ceprano calvarium represents a link with the distant past, not our ancestor, but one of many candidates for the progenitor of Homo heidelbergensis, and the Neanderthals.

Hominid migration routes from North Africa to Italy circa 1Ma may have been completed in several ways. Once in Italy a mixture of protolanguage, hunting/scavenging techniques, and social interaction, could have prolonged the survival of the Ceprano hominids, and their descendants.

The geology of the Ceprano basin area has provided valuable dating material, enabling scientists  to chronologically place Ceprano mans ‘time of existence’ on the tree of hominid evolution as accurately as is possible.

The conclusion of this paper mirrors its beginning, by reiterating how the search for human evolution is a profound journey of self discovery. Evolution never stops, and is the legacy of existence in time and space, and to us as modern sapiens, represents the biological link to our ancestors. In a blink of geological time, we have developed from Homo erectus to Homo sapiens, via either on true lineage, or many separate ones.

Ceprano man has left the palaeontology world with many questions, but the answers it has provided have proved invaluable in building up several pictures of how hominids migrated to Europe, and subsequently survived there.

More evidence will need to be discovered before a definite chronology of European hominids can be determined with a greater degree of certainty, but I personally, take comfort in that Ceprano man might well have played a significant part in the lineage leading to at least some of the later mid-Pleistocene hominids, and onto the Neanderthals.   

The journey is far from over……………..    





I am grateful to the many scientists who assisted and supported me with advice and good wishes for my review of the Ceprano calvarium. I would particularly like to mention; Professor Chris Stringer and Rob Kruszynski (Human Origins Group, Natural History Museum, London, England). Professor Paul Palmqvist (Malaga University, Spain). Professor Phillip V Tobias (Sterkfontein Research Unit, Wits. University, South Africa). Dr Richard Roberts (La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia). Professor Dietrich Mania, Ursula Mania, and Professor Vlcek,(Bilzingsleben site, Germany). Gayle Spiller, (Archaeologist, England),Dr Richard Klein (Stanford University, USA). Professor Marta Lahr(Cambridge University, England). Louise Leakey (National Museums of Kenya, Keyna). Professor Roberta Hall and Professor Barbara Roth (Oregon University, USA).         Dr Marina Mosquera (Tarragona, Spain). Professor Giorgio Manzi, Professor Aldo Segre, and especially the late Professor Antonio Ascenzi (La Sapienza University, Rome, Italy).






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