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Age estimates for the Mauer mandible have been advanced previously.

The Mauer sands are overlain by several Middle and Late Pleistocene glacial loess layers with interstratified interglacial paleosoil horizons, which constrain the age of the fossil to older than 350 ka (3).

K-Ar dating has played a key role in unraveling the temporal patterns of hominid evolution as far back as the first significant discovery of East African australopithecines at Olduvai Gorge in 1959.

It was in large part due to the desire to understand the age of the Olduvai hominid remains that pioneering attempts were made to date geologically young materials using the K-Ar method.

These Mauer sands, including sands and gravels, were deposited by the Neckar River in its former course and are subdivided into two distinct units: the “lower sands” and the “upper sands,” separated from each other by a clay/silt layer, the “Lettenbank” (Fig. The mandible of Both sand units are renowned for their rich early Middle Pleistocene mammal fauna that clearly indicate warm climate conditions (2) attributed to two distinct Middle Pleistocene interglacial stages.

Isotopes are important to geologists because each radioactive element decays at a constant rate, which is unique to that element.

Knowing when a dinosaur or other animal lived is important because it helps us place them on the evolutionary family tree.

Accurate dates also allow us to create sequences of evolutionary change and work out when species appeared or became extinct. These are: Where possible, several different methods are used and each method is repeated to confirm the results obtained and improve accuracy.

, was found in 1907 in fluvial sands deposited by the Neckar River 10 km southeast of Heidelberg, Germany.

The fossil is an important key to understanding early human occupation of Europe north of the Alps.

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Geologists often need to know the age of material that they find.