Tech & Science If you bumped into a Homo erectus in the street you might not recognize them as being very different from you. You’d see a certain “human-ness” in the stance, and their size and shape might be similar to yours. But their face would be flatter, with a more obvious brow. And having a conversation would be hard—his or her language skills would be poor (although they could certainly craft a stone tool or light a fire). Of course this is entirely hypothetical, as Homo erectus is now extinct. This enigmatic human ancestor probably evolved in Africa more than 2 million years ago, although the timing of their disappearance is less clear. Homo erectus was in the news over 2018 thanks to new discoveries in the Philippines and China, which have transformed our understanding of this not too distant family member. So who was Homo erectus? And could 2019 be the year we learn more about our mysterious ancestor? Where and when did they live? Homo erectus was first discovered in Java, Indonesia and then China – these are the famous “Java Man” and “Peking Man” fossils. Eugène Dubois’ 1891 discovery on Java (originally called Pithecanthropus erectus) was… Read full this story
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