Homo erectus shows staying power on Java.
A fossil species often classified as a direct human ancestor survived much longer in Indonesia than previously suspected and may have coexisted for at least several thousand years with Homo sapiens Homo sapiens
(Latin; “wise man”)
Species to which all modern human beings belong. The oldest known fossil remains date to c. 120,000 years ago—or much earlier (c. , according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. new age estimates for a fossil site in Java.
H. erectus, now estimated to have inhabited the Indonesian island of Java until sometime between 27,000 and 53,000 years ago, died out as H. sapiens sa·pi·ens
Of, relating to, or characteristic of Homo sapiens.
[Latin sapi more successfully exploited local Stone Age environments, assert Carl C. Swisher swisher Sexology A regional term for a really queer queer, not that there's anything wrong with that III of the Berkeley (Calif.) Geochronology geochronology
Dating and interpretation of geologic events in the history of the Earth. The classical technique of geochronology was stratigraphy, including faunal succession. Center and his colleagues. Many researchers have argued that a similar scenario played out in Europe and the Middle East, where Neandertals lived at the same time as H. sapiens before going extinct around 35,000 years ago.
"It looks like independent [H.] erectus and [H.] sapiens lineages evolved in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, region of Asia (1990 est. pop. 442,500,000), c.1,740,000 sq mi (4,506,600 sq km), bounded roughly by the Indian subcontinent on the west, China on the north, and the Pacific Ocean on the east. ," holds study participant Susan C. Anton, an anthropologist at the University of Florida University of Florida is the third-largest university in the United States, with 50,912 students (as of Fall 2006) and has the eighth-largest budget (nearly $1.9 billion per year). UF is home to 16 colleges and more than 150 research centers and institutes. in Gainesville. "It wouldn't have taken a huge technological or intellectual advantage for one species to have replaced another over a number of generations."
Investigators familiar with the new results agree on two points: The revised dates require further verification and, if they hold up, they will fuel rather than resolve the ongoing debate over the nature of modern human origins (SN: 6/20/92, p. 408).
Most prior age estimates for these H. erectus finds on Java fell between 100,000 and 250,000 years ago. Given that timing, some researchers argued that in Southeast Asia, H. erectus evolved into H. sapiens.
The revised ages indicate that H. erectus survived so late on Java-at least 250,000 years longer than on mainland Asia and perhaps 1 million years longer than in Africa-that it could not have been a human precursor in Southeast Asia.
Swisher's team estimated ages from analyses of the rate of uranium decay in four animal teeth found in sediment at two sites on Java that had yielded H. erectus fossils more than 60 years ago. Uncertainty over whether the teeth absorbed uranium quickly or slowly after being buried led to the spread in age estimates that the scientists report in the Dec. 13 Science.
Modern humans originated in Africa more recently than 200,000 years ago and then migrated throughout the world, in Anton's view. Separate H. erectus and H. sapiens lineages could have coexisted in several regions, she notes.
For instance, H. erectus may have settled Australia more than 100,000 years ago (SN: 9/28/96, p. 196), followed by H. sapiens.
"The new dates for Homo erectus on Java are remarkably young," remarks anthropologist Christopher B. Stringer of the British Museum in London, a proponent of relatively recent African origins of modern humans. "I'm inclined to view them favorably, but this [new study] isn't the last word."
Simultaneous H. erectus and H. sapiens populations in Southeast Asia may have stayed totally separate or interbred in·ter·breed
v. in·ter·bred , in·ter·breed·ing, in·ter·breeds
1. To breed with another kind or species; hybridize.
2. to such a limited extent that H. erectus genes were not passed on to later human groups, Stringer holds.
Anthropologist Milford H. Wolpoff Milford H. Wolpoff (born 1942 to Ruth (Silver) and Ben Wolpoff, Chicago) is a paleoanthropologist, and since 1977, a professor of anthropology and adjunct associate research scientist, Museum of Anthropology at the University of Michigan. of the University of Michigan (body, education) University of Michigan - A large cosmopolitan university in the Midwest USA. Over 50000 students are enrolled at the University of Michigan's three campuses. The students come from 50 states and over 100 foreign countries. in Ann Arbor disagrees. Wolpoff and other proponents of multiregional evolution argue that H. erectus fossils actually belong to an anatomically diverse form of H. sapiens that arose in several parts of the world over the past 2 million years.
"Even if these new dates on Java are correct, the anatomical features of available fossils still support multiregional evolution," Wolpoff contends. For instance, commonalities in the shape and dimensions of Javanese H. erectus and Australian H. sapiens craniums signify close genetic ties, he says.
"The proper way to define both a living and a fossil species is the $64,000 question," Anton states.