What did Homo Erectus look like?
The Homo erectus is an extinct species of the genus Homo. Translated, Homo erectus means (Latin 'homo' = human; Latin 'erigere' = straighten up) 'the upright man'. Fossil finds show a lifespan of this type of approximately two million years (1.9 million - 70,000). This makes the H. erectus the hominid species that has existed the longest in geological terms. For comparison: Homo sapiens only appeared 200,000 years ago.
Homo erectus is assigned a central role in human tribal history. Based on Homo erectus, according to current knowledge, Homo neanderthalensis developed in Europe, Homo floresiensis in Asia and Homo sapiens in Africa.
Homo erectus was the first to settle outside of Africa. The upright gait combined with long legs made it possible to overcome longer distances. Australopithecines and early forms of the genus Homo, e.g. Homo rudolfensis, on the other hand, had significantly longer arms than legs and were therefore more adapted to life in dense forests.
In Africa, most of the fossil finds were made in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania, but also Morocco and Algeria. It is not for nothing that Africa is called cradle of humanity designated. In Europe and Asia, fossils were found in Spain and Georgia and Indonesia, China, Vietnam, India and Java.
Homo erectus was the first hominid to dominate fire when he left Africa at the latest. The significantly cooler climate in Central Europe would otherwise hardly have allowed successful settlement. The use of fire opened up completely different possibilities. Fire cooked meat is not only easier to digest, but also free of harmful bacteria. The increase in meat consumption was also a major factor in brain development, even if this view is not taken by all developmental biologists and scientific evidence is still pending. And last but not least, an open fire has a preventive effect against wild predators and blood-sucking parasites.
On a cultural level, the genus Homo experienced a real boost from Homo erectus. For the first time, small hunter-gatherer families formed, which are likely to have triggered the emergence of language in the long term. Only closer cooperation, e.g. when hunting together, makes a language even necessary. Tools like hand axes increased noticeably in complexity. The brain volume was between 800 and 1200 cm³, which corresponds almost to the brain volume of modern humans.
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