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Homo erectus

Homo erectus

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Homo erectus

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  1. Homo erectus Discovered: 19th century in China, Java; later in Africa Age range: 1.8 my – 350,000 years Geographic distribution: China, S.E. Asia, E. Africa, S. Africa, N. Africa, possibly Europe Type specimen: Turkana Boy (1.6 myo) by Richard Leakey in Kenya; most complete hominid skeleton Cranial capacity: 750 – 1250 cc Features: weight/height increases; heavy body build

  2. Homo erectus Features: Cranial features are very distinct; sagittal ridge Notes: First hominid to leave Africa (around 1.7 – 1.5 mya) • First hominid to USE fire (500,000 ya) • Cook meat, keep warm, light, socialize • Made Acheulian stone tools • multipurpose hand axes (1.4 mya in Africa) • Modified flake tools • Language centers developed – capable of speech

  3. Acheulian Hand Axes

  4. Classifying Homo erectus Based on cranial & behavioral features • Homo ergaster – African species • Homo erectus – Asian species; did not make hand axes • Homo antecessor – European species dated at 780,000 ya in Spain

  5. Scavenging vs. Hunting • H. habilis = evidence supports scavenging • H. erectus = scavenging, hunting, cooking of meat

  6. Recap of Defining the Genus Homo • Anatomical differences from Australopithecines • Larger, more rounded braincase • Less projecting face • Smaller back teeth • Eventually, larger body

  7. 2. Cultural changes • More animal based diet • Expanding ranges/territories w/growing populations • More food processing with tools • Intelligence becoming primary survival strategy Conclusion: Bio-cultural evolution firmly established with genus Homo hominids

  8. Australopithecus sediba • Discovered 2008 in South Africa; publicized in 2010 • Dated at 2 myo • Within range of Early Homo & robust australopithicenes • More than 220 bones (more than any early Homo bones combined); all ages & both sexes represented • Evidence that human like traits did not evolve as “full package” • A. sediba shows mix of australopith& later Homo traits • Primitive heel bones – more primitive than Lucy • Is A. sedibafrom another lineage? • Analysis of skin may provide DNA • Analysis of teeth may have remains of food

  9. Australopithecus sediba

  10. Evolutionary Turning Points • Bipedalism – defining hominid feature • Manufacture of Stone Tools • Meat eating • Brain expansion • More sophisticated tools • Better/safer hunting opportunities = more meat • More reliance on cultural innovations • Language • More complex social organization