In detail

Homo erectus


Homo erectus - ancestor of man?

Of the Homo erectus is an extinct species of the genus Homo. Translated means Homo erectus (Latin 'homo' = man, Latin 'erigere' = straighten up) 'the erect man'. Fossil finds have a lifespan of nearly two million years (1.9 million - 70,000). Thus, the H. erectus that Hominidart, which existed in geological history longest. By comparison, Homo sapiens only appeared 200,000 years ago.
Homo erectus is believed to play a central role in human phylogeny. From Homo erectus, according to recent findings, homo neanderthalensis in Europe, Homo floresiensis in Asia and Homo sapiens in Africa developed.
The first species Homo erectus also settled outside of Africa. The upright walk combined with long legs made it possible to overcome longer distances. Australopithecines and early forms of the genus Homo, e.g. Homo rudolfensis, on the other hand, had considerably longer arms than legs and were therefore more adapted for a life in the dense forest.
In Africa, most of the fossil recordings were made in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania, but also in Morocco and Algeria. Not for nothing is Africa called cradle of humanity designated. In Europe and Asia, fossils were found in Spain and Georgia, Indonesia, China, Vietnam, India and Java.
As the first hominid Homo erectus dominated the fire at the latest from his departure from Africa. The significantly cooler climate in Central Europe would otherwise have hardly allowed successful settlement. The use of fire opened up completely different possibilities. Meat cooked in the fire is not only easier to digest but also free of harmful bacteria. Increase in meat consumption has also been a major factor in brain development, although not all developmental biologists have advocated this view and scientific coverage is still pending. And last but not least, an open fire has a preventive effect against wild predators and blood-sucking parasites.
On the cultural level, the genus Homo experienced a veritable push through the Homo erectus. For the first time small hunter-gatherer families formed, which should have triggered the emergence of language sustainably. Only closer cooperation, e.g. hunting together makes a language necessary. Tools such as hand-axes increased noticeably in their complexity. The brain volume, meanwhile, was between 800 and 1200 cm³, which is almost equivalent to the brain volume of modern humans.

The subspecies of Homo erectus

The reason for the large number of subspecies of Homo erectus discovered so far is on the one hand the distribution on different continents, whereby the allopatric speciation is favored. On the other hand, Homo erectus is the longest-lived hominid species with almost two million years. Within such a long period of time, the formation of new species is almost certain due to the evolutionary factors of gene drift, mutation, selection, and recombination. The discovery of other subspecies of Homo erectus is therefore considered very likely.
Homo erectus erectus (Java Man)
Homo erectus yuanmouensis (Yuanmou Man)
Homo erectus lantianensis (Lantian Man)
Homo erectus nankinensis (Nanjing Man)
Homo erectus pekinensis (Peking Man)
Homo erectus palaeojavanicus (Meganthropus)
Homo erectus soloensis (Solo-man)
Homo erectus tautavelensis (Tautavel man)
Homo erectus georgicus (Dmanisi man)

Profile: Homo erectus

genus:homo
kind:H. erectus
Surname:Latin 'homo' = human; lat. 'erigere' = to straighten up
first record:?
Period:1.9 million - 70,000 (Pleistocene)
height:1,4 - 1,8m
mass:50 - 70kg
circulation area:Africa, Europe, Asia
brain volume:800 - 1200cm³
food:Fruits, seeds, roots, meat
tool use:Yes
Walking upright:Yes