Re: Homo erectus

Alex Duncan (
9 Jul 1995 18:04:10 GMT

In article <3tjcuc$> HARRY R. ERWIN, writes:

>2. A change in sexual biology, with less differentiation between male
> and female roles and less sexual dimorphism,
>3. Loss of arboreal adaptations and gain of adaptations for the open
> savannah, with concomitant size increase, particularly in females, and

You just summarized my master's thesis (it took me 20 pages). I think
the size increase in females is particularly important. While it had
certainly occured by the time of H. erectus (e.g. ER 1808 -- a probable
female, ~5'9"), it may have occured earlier. Again, the habiline fossils
are the problematic ones for assessing this. If there was only a single
species, then it was certainly among the most dimorphic anthropoid taxa
ever. If there were two species... Well, no one's quite figured out how
to divide up the individual specimens if there were two taxa, so we don't
have any idea how dimorphic they would have been. It is intriguing,
however, that there are postcrania older than 1.8 Myr that seem to
suggest adaptations to more open country.

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