Re: Homo erectus

Alex Duncan (
27 Jun 1995 17:58:06 GMT

In article <> Stephen
Younge, writes:
>Okay, here is another memory test.
>This time, on H. erectus and his tool industry.
>Any corrections would be greatly appreciated.
>Homo Erectus - Java and Peking Man
>. 1.5 mya - 400 kya
>. 780-1225 cc brain, almost human size
>. stocky, human-like body, bigger than H. habilis
>. found in Java, China, and Africa
>. evidence suggests use of fire
>. increased but infrequent group hunting
>. brain sufficiently developed for language
>. crude shelters and migration to colder areas
>. used Acheulean tool industry

Very, very close. Some new information is available from the
last few years. The oldest known H. erectus are ER 3733 from the Lake
Turkana region, dated to 1.78 Myr, and re-dated stuff from Java dated to
~1.8 Myr.
The evidence for use of fire is equivocal. Depends on who you
listen to.
The language issue is not resolved to everyone's satisfation
either. There are two separate aspects to this: 1) were they
neurologically capable (comment please Dr. Holloway)? and 2) did they
have the proper morphology for an effective vocal apparatus? They were
almost certainly capable of more informative communication than modern
apes, but much of it may have been gestural rather than spoken.

>Acheulean Tool Industry
>. associated with H. erectus of Africa, Europe, and Asia
>. hand axes, pear-shaped tools with sharp cutting edges
>. 1.4 mya - 750 kya
>. shaped by regular blows rather than random strikes (Oldowan)
>. choppers, cleavers

The Acheulean tool industry is not associated w/ H. erectus in Asia.
This may be because the required rock types weren't available, or because
Asian H. erectus found bamboo to be much more efficient as a tool, or for
some reason we don't know yet. The Acheulean exists with minor variation
up to about 200,000 to 150,000 yrs ago, when it is replaced by middle
stone age industries (that still include Acheulean-type tools within

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