This very important discovery I found in the latest 'New Scientist' magazine - which nicely follows up my last blog on blood groups and American migration of the Cro-Magnons. Again the importance of such a find has been overlooked by the mass media, who fail to understand human psychology and it's importance in the 'Ascent of Man.
|Stereotypical Homo Erectus 'Ape Man'|
"You could call it the original baptism of fire: the moment hominins first began controlling flames. There is now evidence that moment came at least 1 million years ago, a finding that will reignite the debate over whether human anatomy was changed forever by cooking.
Fire is a tricky thing to pin down in the archaeological record. According to Michael Chazan at the University of Toronto, Canada, the oldest obvious hearths are just 400,000 years old – though the remains of burned wood, stones and food at an Israeli site suggests that hominins were using fire 790,000 years ago.
Some researchers claim that changes to early hominin anatomy hint that our forerunners began using fire to cook even earlier than this, though the evidence is hotly contested. Molars shrank and skulls grew around 1.9 million years ago, which according to Richard Wrangham at Harvard University reflects the moment that hominins developed a taste for cooked food. As this requires less chewing and digesting, the theory goes, it freed up energy to sustain a larger brain.
There is a huge discrepancy between the timing of these changes in hominin anatomy and the archaeological record of fire, says Chazan. "My heavy bias has always been that humans didn't control fire until much later – until now." In fact, he says, earlier evidence of fire does exist, you just have to look for it in the right way."
|Homo Erectus around a 'non-existent' log fire!|
So why is this finding so important?
Homo Erectus has a 'reputation' of being a primitive 'ape man' that left Africa some 1 million years ago. But the fact that he 'left Africa' and now it is known that he used fire changes everything. For wild 'Apes DO NOT play with fire' they run away (forget the circus freaks that are trained) to use fire shows intelligence, to migrate to better pastures also shows intelligence, for Apes seldom migrate halfway around the world!!
So what do we know about Homo Erectus?
It is widely accepted that population similar to Homo Erectus was directly ancestral to the earliest members of living species Homo sapiens. The exact timing and mode of transformation are still controversial.
Homo erectus appears to have evolved in Africa about 1.8 million years ago. Migrations first to Asia and then to Europe. the species became extinct sometimes less than .5 million years ago. This timing places Homo erectus between Homo habilis and the earliest appearance of Homo sapiens. The time of migration out of Africa is unknown. Most scholars agreed migration occur about 1 million years ago but there is continue debate over how much earlier than this had begun.
Recently a Homo erectus lower jaw has been found in Georgia and said to be 1.6 million years ago. A number of important firsts were recorded during the Homo erectus’ existence.
- The first appearance of hominids outside of Africa.
- The first appearance of systematic hunting.
- Tool making and use of fire.
- First indication of extended childhood.
- Homo Erectus was capable of a more complex life.
- The brain size was increased over halibis ranging between 850 and 1100 cm cube.
- Body size also increased. Reaching close to 1.8 meters in male and 1.55 meters in females.
- The cranium is long and low and somewhat flattened at the front and back.
- The cranial bone being thicker than in earlier hominids.
- The face is short but wide and the nasal aperture projected forward, suggesting the first appearance of the typical human external nose with the nostril facing downward.
- Pronounced brow ridges are present above the orbits.
So are these pictures a true representation of how Homo Erectus looked?
Not long ago Homo Neanderthal had a similar appearance prior to the discovery of the species DNA and Haplogroup.
|Old fashioned view of a Neanderthal|
|Modern view of a Neanderthal with Blue Eyes and Blonde hair|
What are the chances that when we do eventually find a good DNA sample of Homo Erectus, the look and view of this man will change just the same?
It is my opinion that Homo Erectus was the Hominid that spread to America (through multiple mutations) and carried the 'O' blood group we found in the indigenous species. Remembering that Homo Neanderthal left Africa 200,000 years ago and was only able to spread by 'natural' migration by foot to Europe and Western Asia. This also shows that Homo Sapiens (who left Africa 50,000 years ago) were only able to travel to the Middle East and the Caspian Sea in 15,000 years, in a similar fashion. At this rate of migration they would have not reached Western Europe for another 15,000 years - but they did it in just 5,000 years.
The reason is because they used BOATS for the first time which accelerated they speed of immigration, not only to Europe but also to America which would according to Homo Erectus could have taken up to 1 million years if they had walked.
(by Robert John Langdon)