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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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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.
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)
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.
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.