Homo erectus out of Africa

New technologies of Homo erectus:

Between 1.8 and 1.5 million years ago, Homo erectus continued the Oldowan technology of its predecessors. But around 1.5 million years ago we find evidence for a new type of stone tool technology, called the Acheulian:

Note that Homo erectus is the first hominid to leave the African continent and colonize parts of southern Europe and Asia. Current evidence makes it likely that this had occurred before 1.5 million years ago (before Acheulian technology was invented), perhaps explaining why many early Eurasian sites contain only Oldowan-style core and flake tools, rather than handaxes. See an online article by Roy Larick and Russ Ciochon that discusses this evidence.

Some examples of early sites discussed in this article and highlighted in lecture include:

An interesting question: since australopithecines never made it out of Africa, what did H. erectus have that they didn't? Possible suggestions:

They clearly could get significant amounts of animal foods. Could they HUNT? What would archaeological evidence of hunting look like? Most early sites, with bits and pieces of animal remains, could just as easily have been scavenged.

Last updated: 19 November 2001
URL: http://www.indiana.edu/~origins/teach/A105/lectures/A105L22.html
Comments: sept@indiana.edu
Copyright 1995, 1996, 1997 Jeanne Sept

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