Homo erectus


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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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.

Bibliography

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]
(paleontology)
A type of fossil human from the Pleistocene of Java and China representing a specialized side branch in human evolution.
References in periodicals archive ?
Prof Everett, claims that Homo erectus, who lived from 1.
000 anos, sus rasgos apoyan la idea de que quien llevo a cabo la primera colonizacion de Flores fue un Homo erectus de mayor tamano.
The brain case of the Homo erectus from China was up to 1200cc, which is very much near to the size of modern man.
Statistically this is not very likely, she says, but nevertheless there were researchers who proposed up to five contemporary species of early Homo in Africa, including Homo habilis, Homo rudolfensis, Homo ergaster and Homo erectus.
For instance, some authorities contend that Homo erectus evolved from Homo habilis, while others insist the two were cousin or sister species.
Explore and evaluate: ask "if modern humans look like baby chimpanzees, which stage in chimpanzee development will Homo erectus look like?
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.
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.
8 million years ago, about the time when Homo erectus, a species now extinct, walked the earth, childrearing practices underwent a shift, so that the development of youngsters now depended not only on mothers but also on an array of other adults.
Since the initial palaeoanthropological research of Weidenreich (1943, 1945 and 1946), there has been much emphasis on the role of Homo erectus from Indonesia (or Sunda) in the peopling of Ancient Australia (or Sahul).
William Junger, a paleoanthropologist at Stony Brook University in New York, says the footprints are further evidence that Homo erectus had "undergone a major structural change in body plan, and it's much like our own.
Of special interest is the information presented concerning the extinction of the Neanderthal and Homo Erectus (two competing hominid species that having survived for millions of years became extinct within a millennia of encounter Homo Sapiens--us--between 10,000 and 12,500 years ago).