Re: 30,000 year old Homo erectus

Ralph L Holloway (
Sun, 15 Dec 1996 17:23:50 -0500

On Sun, 15 Dec 1996, Susan S. Chin wrote:

> Wooops, sorry. I pressed the "post" button too soon, so my previous
> message should not have posted in the form it appears. Wanted to comment
> on what Tom said above. My understanding of these new recent dates
> for some 12 Java Homo erectus specimens (found at TWO sites, not 12 as I
> had previously stated) is that they support the Out of Africa Hypothesis
> more so than the Multi-Regionalists, at least in this part of Southeast
> Asia. And that this linear model of Homo erectus ---> Homo sapiens will
> need re-assessment. Obviously no one knew or ever suspected Homo erectus
> was or could still have been around as recent as 30,000yrs ago. Of course,
> those advocating the Multi-Regionalist Hypothesis such as Wolpoff are
> quoted as saying these new finds are really Homo sapiens, not erectus.
> Okay.... defining your fossil taxa to fit your theories. Gee, what a novel
> concept.

Having worked on these specimens when they were in Frankfurt with Von
Koenigswald, I find it amazing that they can be so readily classified as
Homo erectus. As I recall, both Santa Luca and myself were far from
certain what the taxonomic affinities of the Solo specimens were. My study
of their endocasts left me with the impression of continuities with
earlier Homo erectus populations, but I couldn't simply say that they were
anything more than primitive Homo sapiens retaining certain Homo erectus
cranial characteristics. I also have visited some of the Solo sites when I
had the pleasure of working with Teuku Jabob, and I would be really
skeptical tabout the associations being claimed between bovids and the
older Solo crania and getting accurate dates for the latter. I suspect
some grandstanding here, and I don't see why previous dating, i.e., about
100,00-130,000 needs to be abandoned at this point. It's very difficult to
remember the exact sites of each of the Solo fragments.
R Holloway