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9_1 Homo erectus_Traits_lecture script.pdf

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ARCH 131
Dennis Sandgathe

Unit 9 Homo erectus and Homo ergaster 91 Homo erectus Traits Slide 1 Title slide Slide 2 Home erectus or some version of this species first appears in Africa around 2 million years ago or perhaps a little earlier than this It was significantly larger in both stature and brain size than all previous hominins and is the first hominin to really look like us Slide 3 It also appears to have been the first hominin group to leave Africa and spread into the rest of the Old World Europe and Asia And although we have a better sample of Homo erectus fossils than any other early hominin species the category Homo erectus has still been a problematic designation for almost a century There are a number of regionally distinct yet similar fossil groups African Asian and European that have all been at one point or another either directly placed in the Homo erectus category or at least associated with it Slide 4 ctus in the inclusive sense appears in Africa about 2 million Homo ereyears ago and Homo erectustype fossils continue until about200000 years ago in Africa 300000 years ago in Europe and perhaps as recently as 50000 years ago in Asia However there has always been a lot of disagreement on where the lines should be drawn both between and within these regional groupsFor most researchers the European fossils have been removed from Homo erectus and have either been given their own species name for example H heidelbergensis or H antecessor or they are just subsumed beneath the generic name Archaic Homo Slide 5 Most of the debate is over the degree of similarity between the African and Asian fossils Depending on which researcher you talk to eitherAll the fossils represent a single wide spread species with some notable regional variabilityOr they should be split into 2 groupsAfrican and Asianbut with the Asian group having no direct connection with the later modern Homo sapiens sapiensthis line presumably comes from the African Homo erectus groupOr Homo erectus as a name should be completely discarded and all the fossils associated with it should be added to the species Homo sapiens with some regional subspecies This argument is in large part semantic Without DNA evidence to tell us exactly what the evolutionary relationship actually is between these different fossils we can only try to argue it out based on fossil features It will remain a debate between the lumpers and splitters Lumpers are those researchers who tend to recognize or highlight the similarities between different fossils and so tend to see a fewer number of categoriesfewer genera or species Splitters are researchers who tend to see the differences between fossils as being more important and will tend to see the fossil record composed of a greater number species and genera Slide 6 Currently it seems that the majority of researchers favour the second alternativeseparating the African and Asian groups into 2 different species of Homo
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