Comparison of the DNA of Neanderthals and Homo sapiens suggests that they diverged from a common ancestor between 350,000 and 400,000 years ago. This ancestor is not certain, but was probably Homo heidelbergensis (sometimes called Homo rhodesiensis). Heidelbergensis originated between 800,000 and 1,300,000 years ago, and continued until about 200,000. It ranged over east and South Africa, Europe and west Asia. Between 350,000 and 400,000 years ago the African branch is thought to have started evolving towards modern humans and the European branch towards Neanderthals. Scientists do not agree when Neanderthals can first be recognised in the fossil record, with dates ranging 200,000 and 300,000 years BP.