Interactive: Virtual Skull - Homo heidelbergensis


‘Kabwe’ or ‘Broken Hill 1’ Homo heidelbergensis skull. It was discovered: 1921 in Kabwe (formerly Broken Hill), Zambia. This skull was the first fossil of a human ancestor to be discovered in Africa. It combines primitive features such as a wide face, thick arching brow ridges and a sloping forehead with a large brain capacity of 1280 cubic centimetres. The date of this specimen is uncertain but it may be 300,000 years old. This individual had significant tooth decay and a number of associated abscesses had decayed the upper jaw bone. Significant dental decay such as this was unusual in our ancestors prior to the development of agriculture approximately 10,000 years ago when more sugars and starchy foods were included in the diet.


Virtual Skulls

Click on the view interactive link above to launch the quicktime interactive. You will need to download the free Quicktime plugin to view these virtual skulls.


  • when your cursor changes to a hand you can drag your mouse in either direction to rotate the skull
  • when your cursor is either on the left or the right side of the popup window, it will change to a thin arrow, hold your mouse down to rotate the skull in either direction
  • click on the icon to view a static bottom view of the skull, click again on the icon to return to the front view which you can rotate
  • a ruler will show at the top of the window when the skull is either to the front or facing to the left
  • hold your Shift key down to zoom in
  • hold your Control/Command key down to zoom out



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Donald McAllister
© Australian Museum

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