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Detailed history of Homo Erectus (Essay Sample)


Detailed history of Homo Erectus


Homo Erectus
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Homo Erectus
The evolution of the vertebral column has been quite unclear ascribed to limited fossils of Miocene and Plio-Pleistocene hominids. However, the few samples discovered, have contributed significantly to the development of knowledge in line to evolution and understanding of the postcranial skeleton or otherwise the hominids. The distinctive features which encompass dental and cranial pieces avail the earliest evidence of hominids and their existence (Jurmain, Kilgore &Trevathan, 2009). The immediate hominid ancestors, as well as the modern humans, are discerned from apes by more perceptible features than the teeth and jaw dimensions (Jurmain, Kilgore &Trevathan, 2009). Examples of the hominids include the early forms of the hominids; Sahelanthropus, Ardipithecus, Australopithecus, Later Australopiths and early members of genus Homo- Habilis, Georgicus, erectus, erg aster, and the contemporary hominoids that included human, chimpanzee, gorilla, orangutan and bonobo (Jurmain, Kilgore &Trevathan, 2009).
Homo erectus survived approximately between two million and three hundred thousand years ago. The discovery of the fossils began in the 19th century. In tandem to this, the hominid represented a different grade- an evolutionary grouping of organisms showing a similar adaptive pattern- of evolution, which is largely different from the ancient predecessors (Jurmain, Kilgore &Trevathan, 2009). Home erectus evinced different forms of characteristics, which indicated that these hominids were like the modern humans in their adaptive patterns. The characteristics comprised of increase in body size and robustness, change in limbs proportion, and an avid encephalization (increase in the mass of the brain) (Jurmain, Kilgore &Trevathan, 2009). Similarly, there are alternate species designations for Homo erectus fossils from Africa and Eurasia, and they include Homo ergaster, a lager-brained successor to Homo Habilis from Africa and Asia, Homo antecessor, earliest Homo fossils from western Europe, and Homo heidelbergenesis, originally coined for the Mauer jaw (Haviland, Prins, Walrath & McBride, 2011).
Discovery and Fossil of Homo erectus
Different dates, sites and evolutionary significance characterize the key H. erectus discovery from Africa. A fossil of an exceptionally large individual, claimed to be a H. erectus, aged 1.4 million years, was obtained in Olduvai Gorge in Kenya. Further, another significant H. erectus fossil from East Africa was discovered in Nariokotome, West Turkana in Kenya. The fossil was a young male, with the skeleton nearly complete, and re-dated at 1.6 million years ago (Jurmain, Kilgore, Trevathan &Ciochon, 2012). In light with this, an essential fossil from East Turkana, Kenya, with a vast variation, notably among individual, was also discovered. The fossil was re-dated at 1.7 million years ago, and, it has been regarded as the oldest H. erectus specimen ever found, and, this is largely attributed to the presence of sexual dimorphism (Jurmain et al, 2012). In Europe, they were mainly two cites, Ceprano in Italy, and Dmanisi in the Republic of Georgia, with clear evidence of existence of H. erectus. In Ceprano, there was a discovery of a fossil that depicted a full blown morphology. Similarly, in Dmanisi, there was a representation of dispersed H. erectus from Africa characterized by small bodies and brains (Jurmain, Kilgore &Trevathan, 2009). In Asia, the principal discoveries were done in Java, in Indonesia and Zhoukoudian, in China. The fossils re-dated at 1.6 million years ago, and they showed massive adaption to colder environments (Jurmain, Kilgore &Trevathan, 2009).
Until about 1.8 million years ago, Africa was the only home to the bipedal primates. The bipeds, the genus homo, and the invention of the first stone tool all originated in this continent (Haviland et al, 2011). During the period of Homo erectus, the members of the genus homo had begun to spread, relatively outside Africa, and researchers have obtained fossils of this species in places like china, India, Java, Georgia, and parts of Western Europe (Haviland et al, 2011). Further, the fossils obtained from the different continents, were unified by a vast number of characteristics; nevertheless, they are a few differences within and among the Homo erectus inhabiting discrete region of Africa, Asia and Europe (Haviland et al, 2011).
The Morphology of Homo erectus
Jurmain, Kilgore and Trevathan (2009), assert that the Homo erectus population shared several common physical traits despite their inhabitation of different environments in different parts of the...
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