Temporal range: Pleistocene
Homo erectus (Latin: "upright man") is an extinct species of the genus Homo. Fossil remains were found in Java (1890s) and in China (1921). Nearly all of them were lost during World War II, but there are casts that are considered to be reliable evidence.
Early in the 20th century it was believed that the first modern humans lived in Asia. But during the 1950s and 1970s, many fossil finds from East Africa (Kenya) showed that the oldest hominins came from there.
Descendants and subspecies[change]
Homo erectus remains one of the most successful and long-lived species of the Homo genus. It is generally considered to have given rise to a number of descendant species and subspecies. The oldest known specimen of the ancient human was found in southern Africa.
- Homo erectus:
- Other related species:
Some of the major Homo erectus fossils:
- Indonesia (island of Java): Trinil 2 (holotype), Sangiran collection, Sambungmachan collection, Ngandong collection
- China: Lantian (Gongwangling and Chenjiawo), Yunxian, Zhoukoudian, Nanjing, Hexian
- India: Narmada (taxonomic status debated!)
- Kenya: WT 15000 (Nariokotome), ER 3883, ER 3733
- Tanzania: OH 9
- Vietnam: Northern, Tham Khuyen, Hoa Binh
- Republic of Georgia: Dmanisi collection
- Turkey: Kocabas fossil
- Dutch anatomist Eugene Dubois (1890s) first described it as Pithecanthropus erectus, based on a skullcap and a modern-looking thigh bone found from the bank of a river in Java. Most of the early discoveries were at Zhoukoudian in China.
- H. erectus may be a descendant of earlier hominins such as H. habilis). However, H. habilis and H. erectus may have lived at the same time and have come from a common ancestor. Spoor F. et al 2007. "Implications of new early Homo fossils from Ileret, east of Lake Turkana, Kenya". Nature (448): 688-691. doi:10.1038/nature05986.
- Kappelman J. et al 2008. "First Homo erectus from Turkey and implications for migrations into temperate Eurasia". American Journal of Physical Anthropology 135 (1): 110-116. doi:10.1002/ajpa.20739.
- Archaeology Info
- Homo erectus at Stanford University
- Possible co-existence with Homo Habilis - BBC News
- John Hawk's discussion of the Kocabas fossil