Für die Menschen. Für Westfalen-Lippe.

Atlas der Säugetiere Nordrhein-Westfalens

AG Säugetierkunde in NRW

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Homo sapiens




Foto: LWL-Medienzentrum für Westfalen/Böckenhoff
The only primate species occurring in NRW are humans. The most distinguished characteristic of the species is their upright gait. The hindfeet enable a type of locomotion for which the forefeet do not have to be used, and they are available for other activities. The head-and-body length of males is on average 1.81 m. females are about 10 cm smaller. The tail is reduced and usually not measurable. The skin colour of the indigenous is a pink in different nuances. However, usually not much of the skin can be seen because for climatic and cultural reason the species covers most parts of its body with fabric. Often the body hair is only poorly developed. The colour of the body hair is very variable, and can change in the same individual within a short period of time.

The first traces of settlement after the last cold period stem from the Rhineland from a time before 13,300 — 14,000 years (Oberkassel Man) and in Westphalia from a time before 10,700 years (Balve Cave). The settlement took place during the same era, which at first allows the conclusion of a similar cultural stage of development. In North Rhine-Westphalia there seem to be two delimitable forms that can only be distinguished by their behaviour: There is an Eastern solitary form, which forms clear home ranges. The monogamous pairs are very philopatric, sometimes almost sessile and interact little with conspecifics. The western social form shows curious behaviours, the function of which has not been researched in detail. Presumably, this is due to the fact that during the Iron Age there was a stronger gene flow from the Mediterranean region, which, however, has only influenced the Rhine valley.
Aside from the Beaver, Humans are the only native mammal species that can significantly shape its own habitat, which the species has excessively done in Central Europe.
On the basis of the topographic sheet quadrants the species is distributed area-wide in NRW. There is hardly a part of the landscape where the impact of the activity of humans can′t be found. With regard to biomass production the species with its 17.84 million individuals in NRW (as of 2012) should be holding a top position among wild vertebrates.


Holger Meinig


Meinig H (2023): Mensch (Homo sapiens).In: AG Säugetierkunde NRW — Online-Atlas of the mammals of North Rhine-Westphalia. Downloaded from saeugeratlas-nrw.lwl.org on 2023/03/27



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