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Homo erectus

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Natalie Wagner

on 21 January 2013

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Transcript of Homo erectus

Homo erectus Homo erectus has some distinguishing characteristics compared to Homo habilis or other hominids. The brain size of Homo erectus was increased over habilis.

-The cranial bone was thicker than that of earlier hominids.
-The postcranial bone of Homo erectus is similar to that of modern human beings except its bone was stronger and heavily muscled.
The Skull The body size was increased by about:
1.8 meters for males
1.55 meters for females The Homo erectus showed the first appearance of typical human nose with the nostril facing downward. Their face was short and wide and the nasal aperture projected forward.

The new structure of their nose allowed them to condense the moisture from exhales. This allows them to actively move even in warm and arid habitats. Changes They had a pronounced brow
ridge. Habitat and Environment Homo erectus is believed to be the first hominid to leave the African continent!
- They migrated from Africa to various parts of the old world around 2 million years ago.
Their remains have been discovered in various areas, including:
-Africa
-Georgia
-Vietnam
-China
-As its nose changed more like that of modern human beings, they could live in an arid area. -Their wide migration demonstrates the fact that it can adapt to environment.
-They were first found in Africa, then in Europe, and finally in East Asia.
This species lived in cave as it built hearths to keep warm. Social Customs - Homo erectus was the first hominid to start systematic hunting.

- The Homo erectus had a larger cranial capacity than Homo habilis, and therefor it could use more sophisticated tools.

-One fossil record of the Homo erectus proved that this species used the earlier hand axes, which was the first developed stone tool.

Studying the fossils of Homo erectus shows that this species cared for old and weak individuals.

The earliest hearths (campfires) were found during the era of Homo erectus.
Hearths were used to socially interact, to keep warm, and to keep away predators. Physical Appearance -Fossils found in Africa dictate larger bodies than those found in Asia.

It is hypothesized that Homo erectus individuals weighed around 88-150 lbs and were 145-185 cm tall

This was quite a large range in height, perhaps due to the environmental conditions or each populations habitat
i.e. Indonesia or Africa - Unlike earlier hominids which males were twice as bulky as females, males in Homo erectus were only 20-30% larger than females.

- This suggests that competition between males reduced significantly. Diet -The Homo erectus were hunter gatherers
-They had a similar “human-like” foraging strategy.
-Their jaw had shovel shaped incisors and larger molars
-They would use fire to cook their meat
- This would allow them to eat foods consisting of:
red meat, nuts, berries, leaves, roots, tubers, wild
grasses and bird eggs Discovery The Homo erectus was discovered by Eugene Dubois, the Dutch surgeon/doctor/professor.

He discovered the Java Man in 1891 in Indonesia. In 1984 he named the remains Pithecanthropus erectus which is Latin for “erect ape man”.

As the phylogenetic tree of hominids expanded, this species was renamed Homo erectus, the name we are familiar with today.

Despite all the discoveries and research that has occurred since the first Homo erectus remains were found, anthropologists are still unsure if Homo erectus is the direct ancestor to our Homo sapiens species today. -Eugene Dubois was born in the Netherlands town of Eijsden in 1858.
-He was the first anthropologist to actually go out searching for the fossils of our hominid ancestors. Before his work, all discoveries in this field had been purely accidental.
-In Koedoeng Broeboes in 1890 Dubois’ engineers discovered a hominid fossil of a chin, lower jaw, and three intact teeth. A year later he found the molar tooth belonging to the long deceased primate. A couple months later the skullcap was found in the same area. A year later the left thigh bone was found.
-These fossils became known as the Java Man.
- Dubois conducted more research in the fields of biology, anthropology, and evolution before his retirement in 1928 The Anthropologist: Eugene Dubois Evolutionary Importance -Homo erectus is sometimes called Homo ergaster.

-A few scientists differentiate between the two, claiming that Homo ergaster came from Africa, and Homo erectus came from Asia.

-Others believe they both belong to a taxon called Homo erectus sensu lato. 89 million years ago Homo erectus lived side by side with other hominid species such as Homo habillis, according to fossils found.

-About 143,000 years ago, towards the end of its time period Homo erectus even coexisted with Homo sapiens.

This was caused by a development in the phylogenetic tree that occurred before the previous species became extinct.

It is unclear however if the Homo erectus species is our direct hominid ancestors.

The picture below depicts how small the Homo erectus brain was compared to today, as well as shows how the size of hominid brains evolved over time. By: Jasmine, Natalie and Raymond The End
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