A reconstruction of Homo erectus
|Common Name||"upright man," from the Latin ērigere, "to put up, set upright"|
|Range||Africa and spread as far as Georgia, India, Sri Lanka, China and Java around 143,000 years ago.|
Homo erectus (meaning "upright man," from the Latin ērigere, "to put up, set upright"), is a prehistoric species of hominin that lived throughout most of the Pleistocene, with the earliest first fossil evidence dating to around 1.9 million years ago and the most recent to around 143,000 years ago. The species originated in Africa and spread as far as Georgia, India, Sri Lanka, China and Java.
There is still disagreement on the subject of the classification, ancestry, and progeny of H. erectus, with two major alternative classifications: erectus may be another name for Homo ergaster, and therefore the direct ancestor of later hominids such as Homo heidelbergensis, Homo neanderthalensis, and Homo sapiens; or it may be an Asian species distinct from African ergaster.
Some palaeoanthropologists consider Homo ergaster to be simply the African variety of Homo erectus. This leads to the use of the term "Homo erectus sensu stricto" for the Asian H. erectus, and "Homo erectus sensu lato" for the larger species comprising both the early African populations (Homo ergaster) and the Asian populations.