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Homo erectusPleistocene Evidence from the Middle Awash, Ethiopia$
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W. Henry Gilbert

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780520251205

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520251205.001.0001

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Hominid Systematics

Hominid Systematics

(p.348) (p.349) 15 Hominid Systematics
Homo erectus

W. Henry Gilbert

University of California Press

This chapter examines the phylogenetic relationships of early and middle Pleistocene Homo. There are three hypotheses about the evolutionary relationships among early and middle Pleistocene hominids. The first hypothesis is that Asian Homo erectus is a discrete phylogenetic entity from early Homo erectus in Africa. The second hypothesis tested by this analysis is that early African forms from Koobi Fora represent more direct ancestors to advanced Homo than do later African or Asian Homo erectus specimens. The third hypothesis suggested that late early Pleistocene Homo erectus from Europe was a more direct ancestor of advanced Homo than its African contemporaries. The chapter explores the meaning of lineage, character definitions, variation, and homology, and then presents the use of three cladistic analyses to test the different hypotheses about the phylogenetic patterns among Pleistocene hominids. The first cladistic analysis specimens separate taxa or operational taxonomic units (OTUs). The second uses paleodemes (time- and geography-determined groupings) as OTUs. The third groups specimens from single sites into OTUs.

Keywords:   Homo, hominids, Homo erectus, lineage, variation, homology, operational taxonomic units, OTUs, paleodemes

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