Samu (Homo erectus)
Samu is the nickname given to a prehistoric man (described as Homo erectus seu sapiens palaeohungaricus, i. e., "ancient Hungarian Homo erectus or sapiens") whose remains were found in 1964 near Vértesszőlős, Hungary. There are two options: He was the smartest Homo erectus, or more likely he was the very first Homo sapiens ever found. Only a part of the occipital bone was found. He lived about 350,000 years ago.
The archaeological site was discovered by Márton Pécsi in 1962; the occipital bone was found three years later during a dig led by László Vértes. Since it was found on August 21, the name day of Sámuel, it was named Samu (Hungarian version of Sam). Two child teeth were also found. Samu was an intelligent early human who made tools out of rocks and bones, knew and used fire and was able to hunt for larger animals. A fireplace was also found along the bones and tools. The remains can be viewed in the local Vértesszőlős Museum. Also on display are some of his stone and bone tools, a prehistoric footprint, animal and plant remains.
In early 2009 news sources reported that a fourteen-year-old girl vandalised the remains. Since the museum was at that time closed for winter and was inspected once a week, the vandalism is assumed having taken place between January 28 and February 4. On February 9 it was reported that the Vértesszőlős museum only housed a replica of the prehistoric bone, and the original is safe in the Hungarian National Museum in Budapest.
Samu has also become a figure in pop culture in the past decades. Plastic skeletons shown in biology classes in schools are almost universally called Samu by students.