Day: June 11, 2024


A holotype is a physical specimen of an organism used when the species is first described.
In 1857 Professor Hermann Schaaffhausen published the analysis of the fossil remains rescued from a German quarry: the upper part of the cranium or calvaria, the ulnae, the femora, the radii, and fragments of the innominate bones, a scapula, a clavicle and some ribs. His conclusions were disconcerting, the morphology of the cranium was different from everything that was known at the time, particularly the strange morphology of his orbital torus.
In 1864, William King reviewed the morphology of the bones and proposed that it was a new species of humans that were named Homo neanderthalensis (man of the Neander Valley). Thus the Neandertals were born in the scientific literature.
The fossils of this specimen are known as Neandertal 1, and thus became the type specimen of this species.