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Lec 11 Homo erectus anatomy & culture.doc

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Homo erectus 1. 1st hominin species to exist outside of Africa 2. an African origin 3. an impressive longevity (1.9 mya to 3000 years ago) 4. Extensive geographical spread throughout Old World (Africa, Middle East, Asia) First Find: • Eugene Dubois, 1891  Occurs relatively early • Trinil, Java • Femur and skull cap • Pithecanthropus erectus JAVA SITES (1.8 mya – 500,000 ya) ZHOUKOUDIAN, China (600 – 400 kya) MOST SIGNIFICANT ERECTUS • Gunnar Andersson • Pei Wenshong • Davidson Black  U of T • Franz Weinreich • Best collection of 600,000 – 300,000 yr old hominids ever found • Minimum 40 individuals – adult male, female & subadults • 1000cc aver • 100,000 artifacts • Missing in 1933 when China tried to ship fossils before Japanese occupation  Made Casts East African H. erectus (h.ergaster) • Nariokotome, West Turkana • 1984 Kamoya Kimeu • WT 15000 (Nariokotome boy) • 1.6 mya • Boy approx. 12 y.o. • Stature 5’3” • Postcranial similar to modern humans • 880 cc • Fully bipedal by hip morphology • Rib cage is more of a cone shape than barrel shape (humans) Issues at Turkana – h. ergaster (African) or h. erectus (Asian)? Large amount of variation Too large for one species? Groves & Mazak (1975) African specimens • Bones thinner • Smaller brow ridges Asian specimens • Shorter & stockier • Larger brow ridges 2. Temporal relationships • inconsistencies in the chronological transition of morphological changes from h. habilis to h. ergaster to h. erectus General Characteristics of Homo erectus Cranial anatomy • 780 – 1225 cc • (1000 cc average) • Wide at base from behind • Low cranial vault • Sagittal keel A large reduction in sagittal crest, feels like a bump and hard to be seen • Nuchal torus • Supraorbital torus • Robust jaw • Teeth larger than modern human, but smaller than h. habilis Homo erectus postcranial anatomy • Postcranial skeleton similar to modern humans • Robust limb bones • Conical rib cage • Narrow hips • Stature: human range • < sex dimorphism than h. habilis H. erectus in Europe or Northern Africa? Dmanisi, Georgia • North of the Levantine Corridor • Approx 1.8 mya • 5 individuals • Average 650 cc • Homo georgicus or erectus? (Gabounia et. al., 2002) • Skull vault elongated, narrow, low • From behind skull widest at base • Sagittal keel • Postorbital constriction • Supraorbital torus • Appears as early homo (may be an early variant of early homo) Differences from Homo erectus • small face • More prognathic • Reminiscent of early homo Homo erectus culture Transition from Oldowan to Acheulean @ Olduvai Three stage transition (Mary Leakey, 1975) 1. Increased sophistication in Oldowan - Protobiface 2. Coexistence of Oldowan & Acheulea 3. Disappearance of Oldowan & further development of Acheulean Diversified functi
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