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Catalog no. Skull 5
Common name Miguelón
Species Homo heidelbergensis
Age 400k
Place discovered Atapuerca, Spain
Date discovered 1992
Discovered by Bermúdez, Arsuaga & Carbonell
Cranium 5. The mandible (not shown) of this cranium was nearly intact.

Miguelón (considered to be 400,000 years old) is the popular nickname for the most complete skull of an Homo heidelbergensis ever found. More than 5,500 human fossils of this species, which are considered to be the direct ancestor of Homo neanderthalensis, have been found in the Sima de los Huesos ("pit of bones") site in the Sierra de Atapuerca in northern Spain.

The excavators suggest that this concentration of bones in the pit may represent the practice of burial by the inhabitants of the cave. A competing theory cites the lack of small bones in the assemblage and suggests that the remains were washed into the pit by natural agents.

Miguelón, around thirty years old, had 13 impacts in the head and died of septicemia resulting from broken teeth. In his upper left jaw there is an important bone alteration, with evidence of alveolar infection. According to Arsuaga, a tooth had been broken in life by a strong blow, so that the flesh had been exposed and led to an infectious process that continued until nearly the orbital bone.[1][2] The cranial capacity is around 1100cc.[2]

Another view of the cranium 5 of Atapuerca.

The nickname Miguelón was derived from Miguel Indurain, a retired Spanish road racing cyclist that won the Tour and Giro in 1992, the year in which this skull was discovered.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "El cráneo «Miguelón» llega a Madrid". ABC. 2005-12-15. 
  2. ^ a b "El cráneo de Miguelón" (PDF). Tribuna Complutense. 2008-02-07. 

External links[edit]