Homo erectus

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Related to Homo erectus: Human evolution, Cro magnon

Homo erectus

(hō`mō ērĕk`təs), extinct hominin living between 1.6 million and 250,000 years ago. Homo erectus is thought to have evolved in Africa from H. habilis, the first member of the genus Homo. African forms of H. erectus are classified by some scientists as H. ergaster. Anatomically and physiologically, H. erectus resembles contemporary humans except for a stouter bone structure. The size of its braincase (850–1000 cc), approaches that of H. sapiens, but the cranial bones are more massive than either those of H. habilis or modern humans.

The material culture of H. erectus was significantly more complex than that of its predecessors, including Achuelian stone tools (see PaleolithicPaleolithic period
or Old Stone Age,
the earliest period of human development and the longest phase of mankind's history. It is approximately coextensive with the Pleistocene geologic epoch, beginning about 2 million years ago and ending in various places between
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), a variety of tools fashioned from wood and other perishable materials, the use of fire, and seasonally occupied, oval-shaped huts. Evidence of extensive cooperative behavior is abundant in a number of European habitation and hunting sites, including Terra Amata, France, and Terralba and Ambrona, Spain. H. erectus populations occupied these sites seasonally, while pursuing an annual subsistence cycle based on a combination of big-game hunting and the gathering of shellfish and plant foods.

H. erectus dispersed into Asia more than 1.3 million years ago, and into Europe by at least 400,000 years ago. Fossils of this species were first discovered in 1891 by French anatomist Eugene Dubois in Java. The specimen, which came to be known as "Java man," was at first classified as Pithecanthropus erectus. H. erectus remains, originally dubbed "Peking man" (Sinanthropus pekinensis), were also found in China at the Zhoukoudian cave near Beijing in the late 1920s. Heidelberg man (named after the 500,000-year-old remains first found near Heidelberg, Germany, in 1907) was classified by some scientists as H. erectus (and by others as archaic H. sapiens), but is now classified as H. heidelbergensis and considered to be the ancestor of Neanderthals and modern humans.

See also human evolutionhuman evolution,
theory of the origins of the human species, Homo sapiens. Modern understanding of human origins is derived largely from the findings of paleontology, anthropology, and genetics, and involves the process of natural selection (see Darwinism).
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See B. A. Sigmon and J. S. Cybulski, Homo erectus (1981); N. Eldredge and I. Tattersall, The Myths of Human Evolution (1982); M. H. Day, Guide to Fossil Man (4th ed. 1984); G. P. Rightmire, The Evolution of Homo Erectus (1990); D. Johanson, L. Johanson, and B. Edgar, Ancestors (1994); C. C. Swisher 3d et al., Java Man (2000); P. Shipman, The Man Who Found the Missing Link: Eugène Dubois and His Lifelong Quest to Prove Darwin Right (2001).

Homo erectus

[′hō·mō ə′rek·təs]
A type of fossil human from the Pleistocene of Java and China representing a specialized side branch in human evolution.
References in periodicals archive ?
The recently discovered data show that Dmanisi was occupied at the same time as, if not before, the first appearance of Homo erectus in east Africa," the team led by Ferring and David Lordkipanidze of the Georgia National Museum reported.
I think within 10 or 20 seconds of looking at the lower jaw, I knew exactly that it can't have been a modern human and it had features in common with Homo erectus and australopithecines," he said in a phone interview from his Sydney home.
He said the specimens are in keeping with the skulls of Homo erectus as found in Java and in China.
A team that excavated partial skeletons at Dmanisi, in the nation of Georgia, recently categorized the finds as one species, Homo erectus, that lived in Africa and West Asia 1.
18 ( ANI ): A new skull, found in Dmanisi, suggests that nearly half a dozen species of our early human ancestor may have been all Homo erectus.
As a result, five species of early Homo have been identified, including Homo habilis, Homo rudolfensis and Homo erectus.
He also says that the ancient Sumerian writings speak about the creation of Homo Sapiens by Nibiru inhabitants - the so-called Annunaki (those who came from heaven to the Earth) who mixed their own DNA with Homo Erectus, thus creating Homo Sapiens.
But over three nights this week, Professor Alice Roberts, Dr George McGavin and a team of international experts will take the fragmented remains of ancient bones and rebuild the bodies of three individuals from that period - - a Neanderthal, a Homo Erectus and an Australopithecus Afarensis.
I tell students that we will study chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens), and the extinct species Australopithecus afarensis and Homo erectus.
The new species still is similar to other austrelopiths by virtue of its small body size and longer upper limbs with large joint surfaces, among other things, indicate paleoanthropoiogists, who believe the discovery marks a new link between the traits of the more rugged Australopithecus africanus that was present 1,000,000 years earlier and the later taxon Homo habilis that eventually evolved into Homo erectus.
It had a small brain like an ape but shaped like our direct descendant homo erectus.
It was a watershed finding--it confirmed for scientists that this hominid was related closely enough to us to add the "Homo" to the Homo erectus name.