The “Broken Hill” skull, an early relative of modern humans, is among the most pristinely preserved examples of its kind. It went on display at London’s Natural History Museum on 1 March.
The Broken Hill skull was the first early human fossil found in Africa. Now identified as the species Homo heidelbergensis, the most likely ancestor to modern humans, it is still the finest known example of its kind and continues to reveal exciting new insights about human evolution.
This pivotal specimen was very nearly lost to science when workers in Zambia’s Broken Hill mine came face to face with it in 1921. Luckily, one of them had the courage to rescue the eerie relic.
The area has since been so heavily mined that all the material around where the skull was found has gone, and with it clues about its age and history. But the bones are so well preserved they are still extremely telling.