|Here is the skull of Homo erectus.
|Homo habilis is thought to have evolved into Homo
erectus. This process is believed to have occurred from 1.6 million
years ago to 300 000 years ago. It is from Homo erectus that
sapiens later arise. It is the general belief that habilis,
and sapiens evolved along a single lineage. By the middle
of the Plesitocene,
Homo erectus is believed to possess
fairly modern human attributes. These features include a rounded
skull, a steeper face, smaller teeth and a greater cranial capacity( 1000cc)
which continues to increase with the forms' progression through time.
Erectus is often called a world-traveller for it was the first hominid
species to leave the African cradle. Erectus is believed to
have spread from Africa to Asia-China and Java. This migration is
dated as early as 1.7 million years ago.
| Erectus had a brain the size of a one-year-old
modern human. The face of Homo erectus was not that different
from its forebearers. It still had protruding jaws, no chin, thick
brow ridges, and a long low skull. Its teeth were smaller than
those of Homo habilis. This species grew to be up to 6 feet and
they were slender which gave them ample surface area for sweating, an advantage
in the tropics. Their hips were narrower than those of other hominids;
this gave them great speed. They also had robust bones which helped
them through a physically-demanding life. The hole in a vertebra,
smaller than that of a modern humans, carried a spinal cord which
was probably too small for true speech. Since
was a meat-eater it did not need the powerful jaws that Homo
habilis and earlier forms would have needed for grinding coarse
|| Some erectus skulls show mulitple healed
fractures. They can have as many as seven or eight of these cranial
scars. This suggests to some anthropologists that erectus
may have engaged in either skull bashing warfare or ritual activity or,
that Homo erectus may have been hunting more dangerous, big
game with its more advanced weaponry.
The culture of the erectus form
is coined "Acheulian". The tools of Homo erectus are more
elaborate, diverse and sophisticated than the tools of Homo habilis.
The use of fire has been determined to have been widespread by half a million
| Homo erectus invented
the hand axe. It is believed that Homo erectus and other predators
were avoiding each other by this time. The Homoerectus brain
size is believed to suggest that it was too small for reasoning or
imagining. Yet, erectus was much more capable of exploiting
its environment than were its precursors. It is believed that Homo
erectus had better hunting and foraging skills, and a greater
ability to move into more marginal ecological niches than did earlier hominids.