Re: Homo erectus

Alex Duncan (
6 Jul 1995 19:09:38 GMT

In article <3t7f62$> Patrick H. Adkins, writes:
>>>I have sometimes read that the Ngangdong fossils are relatively recent,
>>>100-200,000 years old, and they are usually assigned to Homo erectus
>>>(which doesn't square well with the usual claim that erectus disappeared
>>>300-500,000 years ago; I would like to resolve this contradiction).

In the absence of other evidence, it once seemed reasonable to assume
that the extinction of H. erectus was a synchronic event all over the old
world. As more and more data becomes available, and better dating
methods are applied, it may turn out that H. erectus disappeared from
different areas at different times. (This SEEMS unusual, because we
rarely have the kind of temporal control over our fossils that we do with
hominid ancestors.) If we assume that Ngandong is H. erectus, and that
is dated at 200,000 yr., then the meaning is apparent: H. erectus
survived for longer in the Far East than elsewhere.

>Can someone comment on the "recent" English find (Boxley?) dating back
>about 500,000 years? Are these H. erectus? Archaic moderns? How do
>they fit in?

I assume you mean the tibia? My understanding is that it looks like a
modern human. But, I haven't heard much in the way of "taxonomizing"
Homo species based on the tibia. It could well be a H. erectus, or a
member of a population similar to the one from Cueva de los Huesos.

Alex Duncan
Dept. of Anthropology
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78712-1086