Paranthropus robustus
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Paranthropus robustus. Australopithecus africanus. Set IV. Early Homo (2.4-1.8 m.y.a.). The earliest appearance of our genus, Homo may be as ancient as the robust Australopithecines . Leakey named these specimens Homo habilis ("handy man") for Olduwan tools.

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Paranthropus robustus

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Paranthropus robustus

Paranthropus robustus


Australopithecus africanus

Australopithecus africanus


Set iv early homo 2 4 1 8 m y a

Set IV. Early Homo (2.4-1.8 m.y.a.)

  • The earliest appearance of our genus, Homo may be as ancient as the robust Australopithecines.

  • Leakey named these specimens Homo habilis ("handy man") for Olduwan tools

  • Differs from Australopithecus in cranial cavity and dental proportions.


Homo habilis

Homo habilis


Homo habilis1

Homo habilis


Pleistocene homo

Pleistocene Homo

  • Terminology

  • The Pleistocene (1.8 m.y.a. - 10,000 y.a.)

  • Overview of Homo erectus Discoveries

  • Morphology of Homo erectus

  • Technological Trends

  • Population Trends


I homo erectus terminology

I. Homo erectus: Terminology

  • The discoveries of fossils now referred to as Homo erectus go back to the 1890s. These early fossils had different names:

    • Javanese remains were called Pithecanthropus (first found).

    • The fossils found in China were called Sinanthropus.

  • After World War II the previous taxonomic splitting was combined under the classification of Homo erectus.

  • Today they are referred to by some as Homo erectus, Homo heidelbergensis, and Homo ergaster


Ii the pleistocene 1 8 m y a 10 000 y a

II. The Pleistocene (1.8 m.y.a.. - 10,000 y.a.)

  • Northern hemisphere largely covered with ice to about 40 degrees N latitude

  • Known as the “age of glaciers” or “ice age”


Ii the pleistocene

II. The Pleistocene

  • Glacial advances and retreats influenced hominids

  • Pleistocene levels

    went down as much

    as 125 m.


Iii a discoveries in java

III A. Discoveries in Java

  • Six sites in eastern Java have yielded all the H. erectus fossils that have been found on this island.

  • Dates range from 1.8 m.y.a. to 1.6 m.y.a.

  • These were among the first found in the 1890s by Eugene DuBois


Iii b discoveries in peking

III B. Discoveries in Peking

  • Near Zhoukoudian, more than 40 male and female adults and children have been found along with 100,000 artifacts since the 1920s.

    • The site was occupied for almost 250,000 years.

    • 40 % of the bones found were of individuals less than 14 years old and 2.6 % of the bones found were of individuals in the 50-60 year range.

    • Some evidence of fire use and cannibalism


Iii c discoveries in east africa

III C. Discoveries in East Africa

  • Louis Leakey unearthed a fossil skull at Olduvai.

  • An almost complete skull was discovered in east Turkana.

  • The most complete H. erectus skeleton ever found was uncovered at western Lake Turkana (Turkana or Nariokotome Boy).

  • In Ethiopia, an abundance of Acheulian tools have been found as well as a mandible dating to 1.3 m.y.a.


Iv morphology of homo erectus

IV. Morphology of Homo erectus

  • Brain size has a mean of 900 cm3

  • Range of 800-1200 cm3

  • Body sizedramatically increased compared to earlier hominids. Some close to 2 m tall

  • Cranium had a distinctive pentagonal shape with thick cranial bone and large brow ridges. Low, long skull

  • African specimens have thinner cranial bones than those found in Asia and are taller and thinner overall.

  • Shovel-shaped incisors (early African and later Asians)


Iv homo erectus morphology

IV. Homo erectus morphology


Iv homo erectus morphology1

IV. Homo erectus morphology


Technological trends in the pleistocene

Technological Trends in the Pleistocene

  • Expansion of the brain enabled H. erectus to develop sophisticated tools:

    • The biface, a stone that was worked on both sides, was used to cut, scrape, pound, and dig.

    • There is widespread evidence for butchering, thousands of Acheulian hand axes have been found with remains of large animals.

  • Homo erectus is seen as a potential hunter and scavenger.


V homo erectus and acheulian tools

V. Homo erectus and Acheulian Tools


Trends in the pleistocene

Trends in the Pleistocene

  • Homo erectus liked to travel.

  • Stone tools found on the island of Flores, 375 miles east of Java, suggest that H. erectus may have constructed ocean-going vessels.

  • Homo erectus embraced culture as a strategy of adaptation.


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