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10 Extinct Hominids

        Science | Paleontology

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Homo Erectus
Upright walker Homo erectus had a relatively large brain. A. DAGLI ORTI/De Agostini/Getty Images
Upright walker Homo erectus had a relatively large brain. A. DAGLI ORTI/De Agostini/Getty Images

Evidence of Homo erectus or "upright man" was originally discovered in 1891 on the island of Java in Indonesia. This species lived as far back as 1.8 million years ago to as recently as 30,000 years ago. Skull fossils show that this species had a long cranial vault housing a relatively large brain, in addition to a wide face and strong brow.

Most of what we have of erectus consists of skulls, jaws and teeth, but we also have one complete thighbone. These have been discovered across Asia, and some similar-looking fossils have been found in Africa, but researchers debate whether these belong to the same species.

Considering the limited fossil record for this species, Paleoanthropologists have still been able to surmise that erectus was tall and walked upright. The handaxes found in Africa are notably absent in Asia, however, suggesting that the species likely left Africa before their invention or that they made tools from other available materials [source: Roberts].


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