Homo erectus was the first ancestor of modern humans to control fire and make tools which were used for extracting various resources from the surroundings. Homo erectus is a group of the Homo family thatexisted aroundtwo million years ago up until about two hundred and fifty thousand years ago. As thousands of years went by, humans and the environment underwent many changes. From around about two million years and two hundred thousand years ago, a new type of species existed called Homo erectus who is also referred to as the upright man.“The first discovery of the remains of the Homo erectus was in 1891 in Java Indonesia by a medical doctor called Eugene Dubois” (Lewin159. Homo erectus is characterized by attributes and features that is similar to modern humans and which are not closely related to first family of the Homo, for instance, the australopithecines.The Homo erectus was smarter than a Homo habilis but not as smart as the Neanderthal because of the brain development that characterized their lives.The Homo erectus inhabited different places across the whole world; some lived in bands all across the world whereas others lived in the colder areas. They created fire and knew its advantages. Fossil data has helped to understand how the homo-erectus came into existence and how they adapted to their environment for the years that they lived.The evolution of Homo erectus, who exhibited more “human” morphology and life, was characterized by a number of changes thus, behavioral, fossil and artifact data couple to give us a glimpse into our evolutionary past. The homo-erectus are credited with designing and making tools like axes that were used in the extraction of resources from the environment. They made tools that assisted them to get some necessities like food among other things from their environment. This essay looks at homo-erectus as one of our ancestors, their features and attributes and the period in which they lived.
A Homo erectus was taller as compared to the earlier species of the homos and some may have been as tall and heavy as modern humans. The brain of a Homo erectus ranged in size, was more developed than for the earlier species of the homos and that is why great achievements in technology happened during the lifetime of the home erectus. The Homo erectus had a massive jaw, a flat face and no chin, the large jaw and teeth needed strong muscles to help keep the head upright in which the muscles attached to a bony bump at the back of the head.The Homo erectus may, however, have been shorter than later humans but it is estimated that an average Homo erectus man was five feet tall. The homo-erectus had some features and attributes which are evident in the modern man, for instance a more developed brain. They used their more developed brain to design tools which assisted them in adapting to the environment by extracting resources and other necessities from the ground. The early species of our ancestors did not have some of the attributes that were evident in the homo- rectus like walking on two legs.Homo erectus has set the turning point to the evolution of human beingsfor the reason thatits unique attributes led to the discovery of many things like the fire and the hoe which was used to dig.The discovery of fire allowed theHomo erectus to cook food and to effectively carry out other activities thus resulting to the growth of the human brain. The discovery of fire was one of the major transformation because it helped our ancestors in the homo-erectus stage of development to eat cooked food unlike it was in the past. The brain of the modern man has over the past years developed in that the modern man is able to think, communicate and take rational decisions.
Homo erectus evolved and they exhibited the characteristics of the human beings, for instance, they were the first smart human in the world. They evolved from Africa and later spread throughout the world as it is evidenced by the fossils which have been discovered in different regions across the whole world. They were creative, skillful and many other characteristics that are evident in the modern man. Having a place to stay was one of their first needs, just like us and thus they would keep walking until they found a safe and great place to live. Homo erectus made tools liken axes and hoes to assist them in the acquiring of basic necessities like food and shelter. As the humans evolved they realized that they needed some things which were necessary for survival and which could only be gotten by designing certain things like hoes which could make it easier for them to extract them. The necessities that were needed include fire which could help them to withstand the cold that was widespread in the tropical climate zones because they lived in forests. The homo-erectus made the hoe and other tools that helped them to acquire food in the large forests. For the reason that the Homo erectus had larger brains, they were also capable of new skills in communication, tool making, and fire building. Earlier species of the homo family were not capable of speech unlike the Homo erectus who were able to communicate well for the reason thatthey possessed developed brains thus being able to make rational decisions. The Homo erectus grunted sounds and combined simple words with gestures in order to communicate with one another. This newly developed intelligence and language helped Homo erectus coordinate group hunting efforts. Bolas, or stones wrapped in skins tied together with leather thongs, have also been found with Homo erectus’ remains, providing more evidence that they possessed advanced hunting techniques as compared to the earlier species of the homo. Homo erectus also made more sophisticated hand axes were used for a variety of purposes, such as cutting meat and digging and thus enabling them to access resources that had not been accessed before by the earlier species of the Homo.
The remains of the homo-erectus indicate a physical growth trend in mental capacity that was clearly associated with dependence on learning and much of the archaeological evidence from the fossils that have been discovered shows that the Homo erectus had advanced skills and knowledge in the making of tools. The tools that have been discovered to be made by the home erectus show the capabilities of our ancestors of that time. This evidence is a clear indication that the home-erectus had brains that were developed in comparison to the earlier species in the evolution stages.The stone working skills of Homo erectus clearly shows several vital cultural achievements including improvements in manual dexterity. This shows that the home-erectus knew how to take advantage of their immediate environment and use its resources. The ability to make tools by the Homo erectus was a manifestation of high intelligence and abilities because of the developed size of their brains as it is evidenced by fossils. The physical and cultural remains of the fossils of the Homo erectus clearly show that there was a trend of the increase in the development of the brain; the increase in the size of the brains of the Homo erectus meant that there was increased intelligence in this stage of the evolution process. Culture may had developed at this time prior to the major increases in the size of the brain and this may have created a selective pressure for improved cognitive and symbolic abilities that shaped the evolutionary directions of the homo erectus and other species of the homo family.
The tools were used by the homo-erectus were used to extract environmental resources like food which were crucial for their wellbeing. Those people who came before the homo-erectus did not have the skills to extract some resources which were found in their surroundings because of the mental incapability. The homo-erectus represent a transformation of human beings from a very primitive form of people who could not take advantage of the resources that were widespread in the immediate environment. The homo-erectus were able to transform the primitive view of our ancestors to their immediate environment because in this stage, they were able to design tools and curve them depending on the work that the tools were made to perform. The objects that were made at this stage conformed to different designs that were desired by our ancestors. Fossils and tools of this species have been discovered in Indonesia, Republic of Georgia and other regions in the world that were inhabited by the Homo erectus.
The Homo erectus and the discovery of fire
Our ancestors at some point realized that animals that were widespread in the immediate environment, for instance, the antelopes would go down a whole lot easier if it were first roasted over an open fire. Some scientists have argued that our hominid ancestor Homo erectus commenced using fire for cooking and other domestic purposes more than a million years ago, but most experts still maintain that there is no clear evidence for controlled use of fire earlier than about 200,000 years ago, when Homo sapiens-the species to which modern humans belong-was already well established. The homo-erectus did indeed use fire and other tools like hoe and axes as it is evidenced by the fossils and other tools that have been discovered. The manifestation of burnt weeds at some sites, as well as charcoal scatters over several acres associated with Stone Age tools are likely signs of the use of fire by the homo-erectus. The widespread peat accumulation layers which contain artifacts and the pollen profiles that have been discovered in the recent past indicate that their herbaceous plant rise and also forest clearance by the Homo erectus.Fire kept the Homo erectus comfortable by repelling insects that used to bite them before fire and scaring away other predators. This protection as a result of the fire attracted mule deer, reindeer and rhinoceroses to some site and thus providing food for the Homo erectus.The Homo erectus were able to hunt and kill the deer’s and other small animals that were attracted by the fire thus getting a variety of meat. Having a fire to start the day was crucial to Homo erectus because of its importance, for instance, cooking food, homo erectus were the first ones to successfully control fire, a milestone in their ability to control nature. During the night, they often slept in caves for shelter and came out during the day to hunt for food and carry out other activities that were vital for their survival. Someone in the clan would tend a hearth fire throughout the night so that to prevent predators from interfering with the fire. During the day and through the nights, Homo erectus used fire for warmth and protection from insects which were widespread in the environment. This helped shield them from very low temperatures and would-be predators which liked very cold weather and feared the fire that was lit by the homo-erectus. Controlled fire allowed Homo erectus to travel into chillier climates and get the basic necessities that were not found into their surroundings. At meal times, food could be cooked over fire thus preventing the Homo erectus from being affected by parasites and other complexities that were brought by raw food. Homo erectus could now live longer than earlier man for the reason that cooking killed germs and parasites in their food that were poisonous and detrimental to the body of man. Homo erectus buried a stone under a fire until the stone became brittle to be used in activities that were crucial for their survival,after the stone became brittle; it was chipped away at the hardened stone to make a sharp edge or point. Their regular tools included stone hand axes and cleavers which were used for extraction of some basic necessities from the ground.
The classic form of the Acheuclean hand axe that was used by the homo erectus was much better forms than the earlier weapons., the axe from the stone tool industry that began over one million years ago provides evidence of mental abilities to conceive and pass on a standardized form within a cultural tradition. Earlier hominids were probably frightened by natural fires in the grasslands, but Homo erectus gradually learned to take advantage of it for their own benefit. They used fire in hunting by catching frightened animals as they ran away from the flames and also learned to cook with fire, most likely by noticing that animals burnt in natural fires made the meat easier to cut and chew than when it was raw. At first, they probably could not have lit fireand instead, they would bring to camp branches that had caught on fire in natural ways such as lightning. Fire also enabled them to keep wild animals away and hardened the tops of wooden spears that were used in hunting and also used it to sharpen hoes that were used for digging. Eventually they learned to make their own fires using stones struck together to form a spark or by rubbing fire sticks together to create heat through friction until a flame was produced
Diet of the Homo erectus
The Homo erectus ate different types of food, for instance, the bark, leaves, and other tree and became more omnivorous, or more inclined to eat both plants and animals, due to their use of tools and fire. The use of fire enabled them to cook food and thus increased the variety of foods that they ate for the reason that they no longer resorted to eating bark and leaves but instead, they hunted and ate meat, including fish, shellfish, small game, and large animals. Scientists believe that eating softer foods, through cooking, gradually led to smaller teeth sizes found in the subsequent stages of the human development.
Size of the brain
The size of the brain of the Homo erectus was distinct from the other groups, for instance it had a large cranial size which was closely related to brain size.The Homo erectus shows as much as a forty percent increase in average cranial capacity as compared to the earlier species of the homo. Homo erectus had a largebrain than earlier categories of genus Homo in the size of the brain becausewhencompared with the larger-bodied early Homo sample, their relative brain size is about the same. The ramifications of this heavily built cranium are reflected in thick cranial bone, large brow ridges above the eyes, the braincase was long and low, little forehead development whereas the cranium was wider at the base compared with earlier and later species of genus Homo. The maximum cranial breadth was below the ear opening, this shows that the cranial shape of the species was distinct from those of the earlier species of the homo because of the increased brain development that occurred during its lifetime. The Homo erectus were our first ancestors to use fire and design tools like axes and hoes that were used to extract certain materials from the environment. The discovery of the tools led to great transformation because the Homo erectus were able to carry out some tasks which the earlier species of the homo were unable to carry out. The homo erectus had distinct attributes and characteristics which differentiated them from the earlier species of the homo family.
The discovery of fire led to great transformations for the reason that the homo erectus were able to cook food and eat it when cooked unlike the earlier species of the homo which eat raw food. Cooking food increased the variety of food that the homo erectus were able to eat because they remove parasites and other harmful substances in foods which were not edible and thus making them good for consumption. Fire helped the Homo erectus to move into cold conditions in such for food because they were able to generate some warmth using the fire.The Homo erectus were able to scare away wild animals and other predators that lived in their midst using the fire and the sharp tools that they designed.They were the first group in the evolution cycle to walk upright and thus they are sometimes referred to as the upright man. Fossils which have been discovered across many regions in the world indicate the many characteristics of the Homo erectus, for instance, their activities and what they ate. Discovery of firm and the invention of tools like hoes and axes at this stage of development are regarded as the major achievements of the Homo erectus.
Lewin, Roger. Human Evolution: An Illustrated Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell Pub, 2004. Internet resource.