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Atlas Obscura The Jawbone of One of Humankind’s Earliest Ancestors

The prestigious lecture halls of Heidelberg University, the oldest university in Germany, are understandably a big draw for the throngs of tourists that visit the city. However, on the grounds of the university’s more modern buildings in the less-explored parts of town north of the river lies a hidden gem that is a must see-for geologists, anthropologists, and science-lovers.

Behind the unassuming doors of Building 234 is the Heidelberg University Geological Museum, a collection of rocks, minerals, and fossils that the geology department has slowly amassed over the university’s long history. Cabinet after cabinet detail the Earth’s 4.8 billion years of rocky history. But one artifact in particular holds a special place; after all it’s not often that you can gaze upon an object that redefined human evolution.

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Atlas Obscura 2019
9.01km
Germany’s Last 18th-Century Garden Mosque

The beautiful building is a highlight of the Schwetzingen Palace gardens.

Atlas Obscura 2014
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The Prinzhorn Collection

Discover The Prinzhorn Collection in Heidelberg, Germany: A collection of artworks exclusively created by the mentally ill that was almost burned by Nazi culture police.

Atlas Obscura 2015
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St. Paul
Atlas Obscura 2013
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Heidelberg Studentenkarzer

Discover Heidelberg Studentenkarzer in Heidelberg, Germany: A preserved college lock-up that recalls a clubhouse approach to discipline.

Atlas Obscura 2010
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Heidelberg Thingstatte

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Brutalism 1968
0.45km
Theoretikum, University of Heidelberg
Atlas Obscura 2017
2.58km
The Judgmental Monkey on Heidelberg’s Old Bridge

It's good luck to be mocked by this monkey.

Place
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Heidelberg
Atlas Obscura 2017
2.83km
A Historic Funicular, Where the Old Meets the New

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Atlas Obscura 2014
1.77km
The Prinzhorn Collection

Discover The Prinzhorn Collection in Heidelberg, Germany: A collection of artworks exclusively created by the mentally ill that was almost burned by Nazi culture police.

Brutalism
2.83km
Kornmarkt Parking Garage
Atlas Obscura 2017
The Jawbone of One of Humankind’s Earliest Ancestors

At the time of discovery, the jaw was the oldest human remains ever found.