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Homo Ergaster

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Jaron Kaller

on 21 January 2013

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Transcript of Homo Ergaster

Homo Ergaster Geography Homo Ergaster first originated 1.9 million years ago from Eastern and Southern Africa and Southern Eurasia.

Their habitat consisted of Mosaic of forest, flooded grasslands and open woodlands.

The homo ergaster were one of the first species to leave Africa and migrate to other continents. Around 1.8 million years ago they reached what is known as today as Russia.

\Some important sites of these fossil discoveries include regions around Lake Turkana and Lake Victoria, Koobi Fora, Nariokotome, Olorgesailie, Swartkrans and Dmanisi, and Georgia. Diet The climate in Africa about 1.8 million years ago was very dry and more seasonal, the homo ergaster took advantage of these open environments. In this dry environment plant tubers would have been an important part of their diet. These vegetables may have been modified by their technology as their smaller molar teeth imply that they ate foods that required less chewing. This species’ had a narrow pelvis and rib cage which means they had a smaller gut that earlier species such as Australopithecus afarensis. They had a small gut and big brain which means they required more nourishing food. This suggests that their diets may have included more meat. History 2 million years ago the earth began to see some early humans being evolved into a new species in Africa. They were mainly referred to as Homo erectus, but a few researchers split them into two species called them Homo ergaster. The fossils of the Homo ergaster were mainly found in Eastern Africa and Eurasia. Homo ergaster is one of the earliest members of the genus Homo. The homo ergaster species lived between 1.4 and 1.9 million years ago, some research indicates that they may have existed as late at 780,000 years ago. We had very little knowledge about our ancestors in the 19th century. John T. Robinsons was a South African palaeontologist who first discovered a mandible of a new species in southern Africa in 1949. The rest of the skeleton was later found NEAR Lake Turkana in Kenta in 1984 by paleoanthropologists Kmoya Kimeu and Alan Walker. This skeleton is 1.6 million years old and is named “Turkana Boy”. At first, most scientists assumed this was another fossil from the species homo erectus, but Colin Groces and Vratislaz Mazak noticed some unique features about the mandible that made it different form the other species. •There is evidence that they did care for living members of their group who were sick or hurt, but they didn’t seem to care about them after death. There is no evidence of skeletons that have been deliberately buried.
•It is likely that the lived in social groups based on family.
•Evidence of their developmental rates show that they had a longer childhood period to mature to adulthood than modern apes, but not as long as modern humans.
•There is no archaeological evidence that Homo ergaster used figurative language, but their well-developed brain and physical capabilities suggests that they might have used linguistic or symbolic communication.
•Homo ergaster probably communicated using gestures combined with a limited range of sounds. The vertebral canal does not seem developed enough to have given them control over their breathing needed for complex speech.
•There seemed to be less difference between the sexes in Homo ergaster. This suggests a distinctively human pattern of sharing and cooperation equally between females and males.
•Homo erectus shared these bamboo forests with pigs, a type of elephant called Stegodon and the biggest primate that has ever lived; the giant vegetarian ape Gigantopithecus.
•It's possible that homo ergaster might have even hunted Gigantopithecus.
•"They probably wouldn't have taken on the big adults, but they may have targeted juveniles. If we look at people who live in forests today, they also eat apes", says Ciochon. Tools •The technology of this species became more advanced with the making of new kinds of stone tools.
•They manufactured large tools including hand axes, cleavers, and picks.
•Their improved technology created more durable tools that maintained their sharpness longer than earlier tools.
•Large stone flakes were produced and these were then shaped on two sides to produce sharp edges.
•Acheulean stone tools were developed by Homo ergaster. These tools were suitable for heavy duty work including processing bones for butchering large mammals and woodworking.
•The small cheek teeth suggest that ergaster relied more on stone tools for processing food.
•"They may have used bamboo to make spears for hunting and poles to knock animals down from the tall trees". Professor Russell Ciochon of the University of Iowa. Fire •Charcoal, burnt earth, and charred bones were found related with Homo ergaster fossils. This may suggest that they intentionally lit and controlled fires.
•Discoveries indicated that Homo ergaster most likely regularly gathered around fire to prepare and cook food and also for social reasons. Homo Ergaster vs. Homo Sapien The Homo ergaster was a rather large species. Our specimen stood around 160 centimeters at the age of 12. However a fully grown male Homo ergaster could easily grow to 180

Homo ergasters pelvic structure is more slender than past Hominine species making there structure more similar to humans. This structure enabled ergaster to walk and run on two legs with ease giving them the ability to hunt with weapons such as spears. The legs of the ergaster were longer than the arms, a trait which was new to Hominine species. These longer legs made running and walking far easier and small changes to the structure of the solders and chest contributed to the increased bipedal balance of the ergaster.

Another similarity to humans is that female Homo ergaster had a similar pelvis and hip structure to modern women. Their hips and pelvis were wider than males and they grew to around 160 centimeters vs. males 180 centimetres. This compares of course due to modern women’s lesser height and wider hips/pelvis. Above the pelvis, the spinal cord had a vertical alignment and structure much like ours but was thinner which is thought to be caused by the lack of nerves which were connected to the brain. The brain had a lesser amount of nerves than ours due to the ergasters limited speech capabilities.


One shortcoming of the Homo ergaster was the size of their brain compared to humans. The homo ergaster had a brain that was on average around 850 cubic centimetres where as our brain is around 1250 cubic centimetres. However behind the eye sockets there were increasingly shrinking indents meaning that the skull was becoming larger in order to hold a larger brain.
The facial structure of humans is oblong compared to the flat facial structure and large protruding nose of the ergaster. But the protruding nose was a far more human like feature than the flat noses of early hominids
This species was very similar to humans in many ways. It is thought to be the first hominine that cooled its self by sweating which is obviously something that we share.


As for the form of the ergasters jaws and teeth, they were similar but not the same as humans. The front of the lower jaw had a backward slope and the face making the face shorter and chin less pointed than modern humans.
This species is a definite direct ancestor of the modern human and may have had many other biological similarities to us that we will never know about. "Working Man"
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