anthropology discussion

Complete Forum #8 – Looking at Homo erectus!

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homo erectus skulls.jpg

Homo erectus populations were successful for approximately one million years. In the hominid line, this is a long enough period of time that evolutionary forces like natural selection, gene flow, founder effect, genetic drift, and mutation may have influenced changes to anatomy and behavior. These interesting ideas are complicated by the fact that Homo erectus also migrated out of Africa and into other areas of the world. Conduct some web research to find evidence that suggests such change occurred in various parts of the globe.

You’ve already read about the celebrated skeleton recovered near Lake Turkana in Kenya but let’s think about the implications of that discovery. Paleoanthropologists consider the Nariokotome specimen of great importance because the nearly complete specimen is an adolescent that offers clues to growth rates and details about skeletal structure that enhance our understanding of the species as a whole. Compare the general cranial capacity of Homo erectus to that of modern Homo sapiens and then visit these sites for a refresher about the details and a look at the actual remains:… (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

skeletal reconstruction.jpg


  1. Provide a brief description of your web research, along with a link for further reading.
  2. Explain what the cranial capacity numbers suggest based on your research about changes in Homo erectus.
  3. Your post should be a minimum of 100+ words – please cite any resources used.
  4. Leave substantive* comments on THREE (3) other student posts – select ones who wrote about different examples than you selected. Use this as an opportunity to learn what they have to share. (50+ words each)

Student 1: Homo erectus existed between 1.8 million and 300,000 years ago. In Homo erectus, the face has protruding jaws with large molars, no chin, thick brow ridges, and a long low skull, with a brain size varying between 750 and 1225 cc. Early erectus specimens average about 900 cc, while later ones have an average of about 1100 cc. Modern human has been existed form 300,000 years ago to present. jaws are short in modern human which result in an almost vertical face. Homo sapiens living today have an average brain size of about 1350 cc which makes-up 2.2% of our body weight. To compare the skeleton of homo erectus with new human, The skeleton in homo erectus is stronger than those of modern humans, implying greater strength. Body parts vary; the Turkana Boy is tall and slender , like modern humans from the same area. Study of the Turkana Boy skeleton indicates that erectus may have been more efficient at walking than modern humans, whose skeletons have had to adapt to allow for the birth of larger-brained infants. Erectus was wide-ranging, and has been found in Africa, Asia, and Europe.

According to the researches that I did I realized that the brain has developed in homo erectus as the time passed by. Their face got smaller and their bain got bigger, a cranial capacity of between 750 and 1225cc, averaged about 1050 cubic centimetres.

Castro Joseph, “Homo Erectus: Facts About the ‘Upright Man'”, 22 jun, 2015. (Links to an external site.) Acessed 25 Feb 2018.

Student 2: Homo erectus is an extinct species of archaic humans that lived throughout most of the Pleistocene geological epoch. Its earliest fossil evidence dates to 1.9 million years ago. Its name means “upright man.” They have possessed modern human-like body proportions with relatively elongated legs and shorter arms compared to the size of the torso. These features are considered adaptations to a life lived on the ground, indicating the loss of earlier tree-climbing adaptations, with the ability to walk and possibly run long distances.

Based on my research, the cranial capacity of the Homo erectus suggests that it was higher in Africa and Asia than Europe. Like habilis, the face has protruding jaws with large molars, no chin, thick brow ridges, and a long low skull, with a brain size varying between 750 and 1225 cc. Early erectus specimens average about 900 cc, while late ones have an average of about 1100 cc.

Student 3: When it comes to Homo erectus, their cranial capacity is a bit different than those of the modern Homo sapiens. For example, the Homo erectus had a brain size of 900 cc. Later on, their capacity was about 750 to 1225 cc and average about 1100 cc. Modern Homo sapiens on the other hand- they have an average cranial capacity of about 1350 cc. (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)

The cranial capacity numbers and data show that as time progresses, the brain capacity increases. First it started around 900 cc and then started to make its way up to 1000 cc and then up to an average of 1350 cc for modern Homo sapiens. It can be seen that the brain growth is increasing. This can correlate to the changes such as speech and speaking as well as developing new skills. In addition, the factor of adapting to the environment allows the cranial capacity to enlarge. Also, new traits emerge.

Foley, Jim. “Hominid Species.” Hominid Species, 30 Apr. 2010, (Links to an external site.).

Institute of Human Origins. “Becoming Human.” Homo Erectus | Becoming Human, 2008,

Institute of Human Origins. “Becoming Human.” Homo Sapiens | Becoming Human, 2008,

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