History of the Universe

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Homo Erectus 2mya

About 2 mya, Homo habilis evolved into the first people called Homo erectus. Their brains were about twice as large as Homo habilis, their bodies were like ours but their faces were still ape-like. They ate raw plants and meat, so they still needed strong jaws to chew their food. They made stone hand-axes, wooden spears and containers. They built huts and helped each other to hunt big game and gather food.

Homo Erectus evolved in Africa and spread as far as China.

Acheulian Tools 1.7 mya

The tools made by Homo erectus were often more complex than the Oldowan of Homo habilis. Like those earlier tools, they began as crude shapes, made by knocking flakes off a pebble. But then they were reworked, their faces smoothed and the quality of the edges improved by removing small chips, often by applying steady pressure rather than by striking, so as to straighten and sharpen the edge.

Image of Acheulian hand-axe courtesy of Josť-Manuel Benito

This type of technology is called "Acheulian" are is more sophisticated and more beautiful than Oldowan. Acheulian technology first appeared about 1.7 mya.

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Written by Wyken Seagrave
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