News: News Archives
Skull Found in Java Reveals Clues
Regarding Past of Homo erectus
A study published last week in Science suggests that the Homo erectus population on the island of Java was isolated from other Asian populations.
In an analysis of a new Pleistocene Homo erectus skull, scientists describe the top and back part of this skull that includes the cranial base (Science, 28 February 2003). The skull, called Sm4, is the fourth H. erectus artifact found in the Sambungmacan area of Java. H. erectus left Africa and spread to South East Asia and Europe, and is known for cultures incorporating tools, fire, hunting, and clothing. Hisao Baba and colleagues performed digital visualization techniques on the fossil, including a virtual cast of the inside of the skull, providing information on how the Homo head evolved with changes in brain capacity. This recent find adds to an important series of H. erectus fossil discoveries in Java that began in 1891 with "Java Man." These fossils have played an important role in questions related to how and when H. erectus migrated across Asia, and the extent that later hominids interacted with them, since Java lies on the periphery of the Pleistocene Homo range.
"Homo erectus Calvarium from the Pleistocene of Java" was written by H. Baba, Y. Kaifu and R. T. Kono at National Science Museum in Tokyo, Japan; H. Baba at U. of Tokyo in Tokyo, Japan; F. Aziz at Geological Research and Development Centre in Bandung, Indonesia; G. Suwa at U. of Tokyo in Tokyo, Japan; and T. Jacob at Gadjah Mada Laboratory in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
4 March 2003