Why Homo erectus drifted to Europe and Asia

Farabee, M.J. Human Evolution. Available at http://www.emc.maricopa.edu/faculty/Farabee/BIOBK/BioBookHumEvol.html

Mammals originated from the ancient mammal-like reptiles prior to 200-245 million years referred to as Triassic Period. Most important forms of mammals evolved during the period including Primates — the category that includes humans. The Primates are considered to be comparatively unspecific mammals: they do not have wings, have four limbs, unable to run fast, normally have weak teeth, and do lack armor or thick protective hides. The origination of primates as indicated by fossil records reveals to be in Africa about 30 million years ago. One section of primates grown to become Old and New World Monkeys while the other section into the hominoids. The Fossil hominoids were considered to have occurred in Africa in the Miocene era of the Tertiary period. A series of genus evolved in relation to the major climate fluxes in their habitats. Until recently, the hoinids were believed to have originated from ramapiths. The hominid genus actually developed from an ancestor not yet revealed.

The biochemical and DNA evidence, in absence of the fossil evidence reveals about a division of hominid from the hominoid line up prior to about 6-8 million years ago. The first of the human like hominids that is know to us, Australopithecus afarensis, appeared prior to about 3.6-4 million years ago. The Australopithecus ramidus is considered to be comparatively an older species originated about 4.4 million years ago and anatomically more ancient than Australopithecus afarensis. The problem of associativeness of the two species is yet to be resolved. The part played by Australopithecus afarensis in development of other hominids are still in debate. Before 2 million years, amidst insignificant change in the past so many million years, as many as about six hominid species developed against the climatic variations associated with the initiation of the Ice Age.

Two divisions originated, the australopithecines normally smaller brained and not considered as tools of the users and the other division that resulted in genus Homo, larger brained and makers and users of tools. The australopithecines vanished prior to about 1 million years. Home irrespective of their best endeavor they are prevailing. An incomprehensive fossil record the australopithecines, at least its miniature, Australopithecus africanus was taken to be the Homo. The current revelations however, resulted in a reassessment of the hypothesis. One pattern is found to be definite. The human qualities grown at different rates and at different times in a variety: some characteristics exerted immediately and some other evolved at a later stage. A cluster of species evolved about 2-2.5 million years ago in Africa. Homo in comparison to australopithecines had a larger brain and a dissimilar formed skull and teeth. Prior to about 1.8 million years the early Homo evolved to Homo erectus that is considered to be the ancestral species to that of our own.

With its origin in Africa, Homo erectus drifted to Europe and Asia. The characteristics that distinguished the Homo erectus from early species of Homo were larger brain size, flatter face and prominent brow ridges. The Homo erectus is identical to the present day humans in size, however, having some differences in the shape of the skull, a receding chin, brow ridges, and variations in teeth. The Homo erectus is considered to be the first hominid to entail evidence the social and cultural aspects of human development. Between 100000 and 500000 years ago the world population of an estimated 1 million Homo erectus disappeared, replaced by a new species, Homo sapiens. About one million Homo erectus were extinct and replaced by new species known as Homo sapiens before 100000 to 500000 years. It is still under question as to how, when and where this new species arose and how it replaced its predecessor.

Clarifying these questions is considered to be of stupendous task. Moreover, it has also been asserted in the Article that the Homo sapiens existed before 500000 to 30000 years demonstrating the features of both Homo sapiens and Homo erectus. Ever since the origin of Homo erectus the movement is considered to have been a fact of human existence assisting in dispersal of the genetic diversity along with the technological innovation. The most current innovations have not been material but rather cultural. Anthropologists are of the view that the New World was populated by a sequence of three movements over the land connection between Asia and North America. Irrespective of the fact that we are scientists or not it is of utmost importance that such evidences are required to be critically assessed and a favorable conclusion is to be arrived at. The Website provides us necessary materials on the origin of Hominids for imitating study on homonids. Since this is an Online Biology Book hosted by Estrella Mountain Community College the information is accurate and reliable.

Article-2. Broker, Stephen P. ‘Hominid Evolution’ by Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. Available at http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1979/6/79.06.02.x.html

The Website hoisted by the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute on Hominid Evolution reveals that the teaching of the process of evolution, irrespective of enhanced awareness, is considered to be the most difficult aspects of any biology class. The recommendation that man has evolved from varied forms of life is a bit confusing and more often refuted by the students as beyond belief. Since the evolution is a process involving the time element, it is necessary that the students should have an awareness of the degree of geological periods. The evolutionary process of mammals continued for 200 million years and there are ancestral primates understood to have existed about 70 million years ago. The article queries about the way one acquire some appreciation for the degree of time.

The article asserts that in the 1950s a book titled Cosmic View: The Universe in Forty Jumps approached the study of space in an interesting manner and presented the concept of space to be as harder to understand as that of the time. Moreover, presently and in a similar approach, Carl Sagan, the astronomer and writer has refined an effective method for the study of time. In formulation of his own cosmic calendar the student understands that life on earth has had a considerable amount of time in which to change. It is also quite helpful to look at generation time in comparison with the geological time in which to vary. Various organisms have the capability for reproduction at various rates. The generation time in humans also differs considerably with the competency for reproduction ranging from 12 to 18 years.

The geological epochs during which hominids and near hominids are to evolve with the Miocene, Pliocene and Pleistocene Epochs. The methodology for studying Hominid Evolution includes Comparative morphology, fossilization, Absolute and Relative Dating, Endocranial csts and microware of teeth and Molecular evolution. The method of comparative morphology is applied in analyzing the extinct forms of life whose skeletal remnants have been found out. Significant similarities reveal connection among earlier species and about the linkage of some species with that of the present period. The process of fossilization reveals that the hominid fossils found out from Africa, Europe, and Asia over the past 120 years is the result of mineralization. Such natural development happened with seeping of minerals into the hard tissues of animals or plants that had been accidentally resulted in by the seeping of minerals into the hard tissues of animals or plants that had accidentally wrapped by sediments.

Fossils are nothing but exact replica of the once living organisms. When an animal skeleton is fossilized the bone material is quite comprehensively substituted by the minerals. The method of relative dating in relation to another is applied in determining the age of a fossil. The sedimentary and volcanic formations at an undisturbed site is said to be progressively older as one goes deeper and deeper in analyzing the different layers. Amidst the past few years another technique for analyzing the hominids has been propounded. The process of fossilization often produces natural endocranial casts that conforms to the inner contours of the skull. Applying a technique developed by Ralph Holloway, synthetic polymer casts can also be prepared. Holloway has constructed casts of six South African australopithecine skulls as well as endocasts for East African australopithecine, Homo habilis from Olduvai, and the 1470 Homo habilis from Koobi Fora. The microwear of teeth of living and extinct mammals is studied by Alan Walker. He constructed epoxy replicas so as to examine under the scanning electron microscope for microscopic wear patterns by using the fossils and modern teeth.

The hypothesis taken for granted by the paleontologist is that the greater the differences in morphology between two species the more remote in time are the ancestor common to both species. The molecular evolutionists are of the view that this is equally true for the genetic and protein variations among the species. The article also reveals about the fossil records that are the key inventions of this Century. Moreover, the article also reveals about the present view points of Hominid Evolution. The progressive trends of evolution reveal that all organ systems have not evolved at the same rates. The term mosaic evolution is used to describe the different features of an organism evolve at different rates. The efficient bipedal movement is a peculiarity that appeared very early and perhaps is the single most significant development in the emergence of man. Since this information is available from New Haven Teachers Institute, Yale, the information is accurate and reliable.

Article-3. Skybreak, Ardea. Part 6D: The Two Biggest Leaps in Hominid Evolution: The Science of Evolution, the Evolution of Human Beings. Revolutionary Worker #1182, January 12, 2003. Available at http://rwor.org/a/v24/1181-1190/1182/evol6d.htm

The process of evolution that links the modern human beings to the ancient ape ancestors revealed a number of key stages and milestones. The development of bipedalism in the line of apes is considered to the most important key stage in the evolutionary process. Secondly, the significant evolutionary modification apparently related to an overall ‘slowing down’ of hominid developmental rates that took place a few million years after the first growth of bipedalism and that formed the human infants to be born in an undeveloped and crude state but allowing for a tremendous increase in brain size and a much longer period of post birth brain development. This in turn enabled the unprecedented inquisitiveness that is attached to the characteristics of the human species.

The starting of development of bipedalism considered to be the first of major evolutionary changes resulted in variation of the basic form of locomotion of hominids and also permitted the hominids to expand their range into a greater variety of habitats and environments. Bipedalism is viewed as free hands for devoting to other purposes than the locomotion and extended an anatomical basis for such relatively simple things as routine carrying of food or other objects over longer distances and the simple use of unmodified natural materials as tools. A few million more years ago bipedal hominid species started to hit the stones together to produce sharp flakes and thus make simple stone tools. It is pertinent to note that many evolutionary and developmental biologists believe that many significant changes in the evolutionary process has resulted in consequence to the relatively simple change in the rate of improvement of physical structures in an ancestor population. The most important of these changes was the fact that infants were now born in a very immature and undeveloped state necessitating prolonged parental attention and vulnerable and dependent young.

The article further reveals that when modern apes and human beings are compared the distinctive features are apparent of the apes that are more typical of human beings. Most of these features are preserved in fossils. When it is possible to distinguish between the features those are more ape like and the features those are more like human beings, it is possible to analyze the fossil hominids of different periods during the past few million years and to find out an indication of the period of first evolutionary modifications that contributed towards becoming human. A plethora of information about the sequence of changes in the various hominid lines has come to picture in just the last few decades and particularly in just the past few years. A comparison of the characteristics of many different species of bipedal hominids reveals that the ones that are normally thought of as the early bipedal hominids that existed since the first development of bipedalism up to 2.5 million years ago still were having plenty of ape-like characteristics, irrespective of the fact that they walked upright. They were not all similar but on the whole they tend to be very short with shorter legs and longer arms, much like the apes that dangle through the trees. Therefore, it is true that the early hominids were also mostly ape like and therefore could not be called as some sort of little humans.

However, alternatively, they cannot be called as just apes and they were after all bipedal. It is quite essential to mention that distinction between the first members of our own Homo sapiens species and modern day human beings is mostly a difference in culture and none of this required any further substantial evolutionary changes in the fundamental biology of our bodies. Everything that we perform today is on the basis of the same capacity for learning and for infusing vast potentialities of accumulating knowledge across the generations through non-genetic cultural means that has been the evolutionary hallmark of our hominid species from the initiation. This is what makes us basically human and differentiate us from all the other species. To sum up it can be said that the specific methods of the evolution of the hominid line happened to unfold were not bound to take place. A differentiated group of evolutionary process could have evolved rather and the path of evolution could have taken any number of different twists and turns and never produced human beings at all. Since this is an article which appeared in a journal which has been referenced thoroughly the information is accurate and reliable.

Article-4. Carrier, David R. The Energetic Paradox of Human Running and Hominid Evolution. Current Anthropology. 1984 Volume: 25; No: 4; pp: 483-495. Available at http://www.publicanthropology.org/Archive/Ca1984.htm

Carrier in his article of hominid evolution advocates that irrespective of the high costs of energy in the hominid process, they evolved a specialized economy of energy use through physiological adaptations that helped them overcome this disadvantage. These editions drove them into a superior position in the predatory and evolutionary process. He backed his proposal with illustrations of hunters in varied cultures that engage in persistence hunting, a technique in which hunters make their prey run down until it dies from exhaustion. Taking the ideas and data from past studies of mammalian locomotion and energy expenditures, Carrier is could successfully measure the merits and demerits involved in various modes of locomotion and physiology ranging from rabbits to humans. He utilizes graphs and diagrams to depict his conclusions. The article is split into four prime divisions.

The most significant qualities of the hominid physiology assisted in surpassing the disadvantages of higher energy expenditures while running. The qualities are the dissipation of metabolic heat, the energy cost of transport and the storage and utilization of energy. The fourth section elaborates as to the methods of securing assistance by the endurance process for hominids and pave a new path for their evolution. Carrier finds out the specific thermoregulatory system of hominids and their capacity to vary the pattern of breathing while running, their capacity to adjust diet to enhance the physical efficiency and their complex glandular structure as assets that permitted them to eradicate so many demerits in comparison to other censorial mammals. Carrier presented the confinements imposed by their rate of energy use is counteracted by the development of human physiology and this indicates an evolutionary preference for endurance running.

The critics praise Carrier for elaborating his argument in a skillful and convincing manner. Most of the comments relate to peripheral matters however a few attack on the basic hypothesis of the Carrier. The supposition of Carrier that the human thermoregulatory system evolved in response to the supplemented heat load of endurance running is thought to be unnecessary since less exhaustive activities may be adequate reasons for this specific hominid development. Another critic is not convinced of the fact that the endurance running was a basic selective force in hominid evolution. Some critics also attack the failure of Carrier in analyzing the other modes of hominid subsistence aside from hunting such as gathering scavenging. According to Carrier perseverance hunting most probably have contributed significantly in evolutionary selection than scavenging and gathering because persistence hunting placed hominids in an unrivaled discriminating position.

Moreover, scavenging and gathering would not have necessitated the specialization of the hominid thermoregulatory system that distinguishes it from all other mammals. For the thermoregulatory system water is considered to be essential for effecting operation during endurance predation and the relative inability of hominid to store water is conceded as one of the significant problems. It has also been believed that these physiological adjustments must have contributed to make endurance predation a feasible and cost effective method of hunting alternatively this technique would not have been resorted to. Since this is an article which appeared in a journal ‘Current Anthropology’ which has been referenced thoroughly the information is accurate and reliable.


Broker, Stephen P. ‘Hominid Evolution’ Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. Available at http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1979/6/79.06.02.x.html. Accessed on 23 November, 2004

Carrier, David R. The Energetic Paradox of Human Running and Hominid Evolution. Current Anthropology. 1984 Volume: 25; No: 4; pp: 483-495. Available at http://www.publicanthropology.org/Archive/Ca1984.htm. Accessed on 23 November, 2004

Farabee, M.J. Human Evolution. Available at http://www.emc.maricopa.edu/faculty/farabee/BIOBK/BioBookHumEvol.html. Accessed on 23 November, 2004

Skybreak, Ardea. Part 6D: The Two Biggest Leaps in Hominid Evolution: The Science of Evolution, the Evolution of Human Beings. Revolutionary Worker. No: 1182, January 12, 2003. Available at http://rwor.org/a/v24/1181-1190/1182/evol6d.htm. Accessed on 23 November, 2004

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