Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Gebo, Daniel Lee, 1955-

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Anthropology


Homo erectus--Evolution; Homo erectus--Classification; Cladistic analysis; Phylogeny


Homo erectus inhabited Africa, Asia, and the Mideast during the Pleistocene epoch. Debates concerning the interpretation and classification of hominids grouped within H. erectus have long been a focus on whether these specimens belong within a single species or to several different species. This study examined the cladistic relationships of specimens grouped within H. erectus, which are representatives of populations that dispersed across different geographic regions, and other species within the genus Homo. It includes African H. erectus, Georgian H. erectus, Chinese H. erectus, Javan H. erectus, H. neanderthalensis, and H. sapiens. For this cladistic analysis, fifty-four craniodental characters were selected and a parsimony analyses using the branch-and-bound method and the bootstrap method were performed with PAUP 4.0a. The results strongly supported a sister-taxa relationship of Chinese and Javan H. erectus, which I recommended classifying as one species of H. erectus. African H. erectus was found to be a sister taxon of all other groups, supporting its taxonomic classification as a distinct species, H. ergaster. In a similar manner, the specimens from Georgia clustered separately from the other H. erectus, and therefore should be referred to as H. georgicus. In the end, this craniodental analysis supports three distinct species, Homo erectus, Homo ergaster and Homo georgicus, within the geographic cluster of specimens generally lumped together under "Homo erectus"..


Advisors: Daniel L. Gebo.||Committee members: Mitchell T. Irwin; Leila M. Porter.||Includes bibliographical references.||Includes illustrations.


95 pages




Northern Illinois University

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