I am not even remotely an expert in this field; I just got curious, so help me.
First of all, let us remove all human sentimental attributes from this question (such as connotations of scientific racism or emotional reactions thereof) and ask it from a purely scientific point of view. The typical facial feature of a West/Central African person (the so-called broad African type) exhibits a wide nose, a lack of nasal bridge projection (similar to many Asian noses) and a prognathous skull shape that resembles more closely to our ancestor Homo Heidelbergensis than many other indigenous phenotypes from other parts of the world do.
I agree that this claim sounds anecdotal, and is certainly not true of all Africans (for example, Ethiopians), but one cannot dismiss it simply on grounds of ethical policing. I cannot help but notice that many of my African friends remind me of our shared ancestry (with no disrespect meant whatsoever), as is clear from the photographs below, one of a supposed Homo Heidelbergensis and one of a random African Homo Sapiens of today.
My question is the following. What is the reason behind this seeming resemblance? Is this appearance an illusion and possibly a construct of a prejudiced mind, or does this have a valid scientific answer? For example, are most Africans closer to our ancestors than the rest of humanity is? How does evolution answer this question?
Thank you for your help.