Anthropology – Lesson 6 Homo erectus and floresiensis
This lecture will be included in midterm.
1.8 mil – 40,000 years ago. Early hominins are different from modern human (longer arms, smaller brains, different
looking) Homo erectus are similar to modern human. This specie leaves Africa.
Discovered h. Erectus. Born into area of evolution was a topic of debate. It is a matter of social context on general
public. He wanted to prove Darwin right. Africa is the place to look for fossils. He thought Asia was a more likely source
of human origins (Indonesia) to prove evolution does happen. Sumatra did not have any successes. He looked into caves
but there inhibited many tigers. Moved to Java and looked into river banks. Successful in Trinil, Java.
What they found in 1891, 2 specimens that created a story that it was evidence of human ancestry. They found the
femur of h. erectus. The femur was angled which means that this was a later form of human evolution. This is not
general characteristic of homo.
Skull was intermediate b/w humans and chimps. The head was primitive in terms of size.
We do not really know how old this stuff is. There is another site in Java called Sangiran. It dates back to 1.6 mil years
ago. Most recent human fossils in the world is Nganclong and it is dated ~40,000 yeas ago. There is a huge population
that hung around Indonesia.
Exostosis – a boney growth when you have muscel tear. It is very painful. This particular person had an injury.
He was involved in discovery of next collection of h. Erectus at Zhoukoudian. He called him the Peking man. It dates back
around 780k years old. H. Erectus were short and stocky people. Average height was 5”. We do not have fossils
anymore. Americans were trying to take materials from China, and it was seized by Japanese government. It was never
been found again.
Another site of older material called Lantian – dates back to 1.15 mil years ago.
Size of brain – 900 cc. Humans go down to a 1000. Chimps get about to 500 cc. biggest h Erectus overlap of smallest
human range. Erectus has a significantly larger brain.
Thick cranial bone and a sloping forehead. It is not flat like modern human.
Big brow ridges and form bar-like structure. The term is torus. The back of the skull has bar-like structure called nuchal
torus. It is associated with neck muscles.
Sagittal crest – it does not have it. But it has a similar muscle called sagittal keel.
Widest part of the skull is bottom.
First things were found in Java and the rest of the collection was found in Asia. But there are no earlier forms of human
in Asia or Java, only more modern human. Therefore, we have to go back to Africa. Monday, October-22-12
It is 1.7~ mill years old. It has most of the features of h. Erectus (sloping floor head) and has no sagittal keel. It is oldest
but not most important
A native African collector. He is the best collectors of human fossils in history of paleontology. One day, Kimeu wanted
to look at Western Side of Lake Turkana. He found Nariokotome boy. 1.6~ years old. I is 40% complete. Lucy was 40%
complete. Lucy is actually 20% because of wrist bones and ankle bones make up the 40%. This one is actually 40%
complete with lack of ankle or wrist bones.
Big excavation in the bone. He had a serious infection in his jaw in his tooth. If it was a human time scale, he will be
older. Chimp age, he would be younger. He was 5”3 tall. He would grown up to be 6”. Textbook is wrong – does not
depend on age.
China place, they were short and stocky. He was lengthy and all tall and have long limbs. You see this in modern humans
in this area. You have high surface area to lose heat in the hot environment. If you are cold environment, it is good that
you are shorter to loose less heat.
He is a bipedal (pelvis examination) and knees that were angled towards the body. The new thing in erectus is that he
has relatively long legs. Lucy had long arms and short legs (body proportion is like an ape). Erectus would be go further
with every stride. It is an adaptation for more efficient bipedalism.
It is a medival castle that was in the process of being excavated. They came across of a lower jaw of Nariokotome boy,
but he shouldn’t be here cause he cannot be in the medieval times. It is actually 1.8~ mil years old. It is even older than
the oldest stuff in Africa. It does suggest that hominins caries quickly when you travelled the long way. In a short time
frame, erectus spread all the way to Indonesia (from Africa). They spread very broadly and quickly.
They have small craniam capacity – 650 cc. Softball size skull. 4 skull is most interesting, lost all his teeth and he lived
for a long time. How does he eat his food? They did not have blenders or knives. Someone was helping him to eat. He
survived a hell lot longer than any animal. It reveals there is food sharing.
They had smaller cranial capacity simply because they are smaller people (climate was not as hot)
Homo erectus manage to travel a very long way
How they manage to do that? And how human was h. Erectus?
They had tool kits (core and flake tools). Acheulian handaxe was found 1.7 mil years. They are used for wide range of
different functions – this is the predominant tool type. They all have a tear-dropped shape and they are flaked all the
way around. There are no evidence took a stick to make them. They are hand tools. How useful are they? Monday, October-22-12
They weren’t held in hand, maybe they were thrown. And looked at multiple ways to throw. It was thrown in disco st