Some of the important similarities and differences between Homo Erectus and Homo Sapien is that the Homo erectus and Homo sapiens are two species of human lineage with an upright stature and a well-developed postcranial skeleton. However, Homo erectus is an extinct species while all modern human beings belong to Homo sapiens. Furthermore, the Homo erectus had a comparatively small brain and were less intelligent while the Homo sapiens have a large brain, making modern humans more intelligent.
Key Areas Covered
1. Homo Erectus
– Definition, Physical Characteristics, Behavior
2. Homo Sapiens
– Definition, Physical Characteristics, Behavior
3. What are the Similarities Between Homo Erectus and Homo Sapiens
– Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Homo Erectus and Homo Sapiens
– Comparison of Key Differences
Homo erectus, Homo sapiens, hominin, Modern Human, Origination, Skeleton, Skull
Homo Erectus – Definition, Physical Characteristics, Behavior
Homo erectus refers to the ‘upright man’ who lived around 1.9 – 1.43 Mya. Homo erectus was the first hominin to go to an upright posture. They were found all across Africa, Europe, near and far east. They were first discovered in Java, Indonesia in 1981 by Eugène Dubois. The average height of Homo erectus was 5 ft 10 inches and they had a slender build than Homo sapiens. They had a flatter face with relatively less prominent cheekbones. They also had heavy eye ridges.
The females of Homo erectus were significantly smaller than their males. Homo erectus hunted and gathered food. Their staple diet included meat, nuts, fruits, and berries. They used advanced Acheulean tools for hunting as well as for defensive purposes. Also, fire-making was first discovered by Homo erectus. Their cranial base analysis shows that they could speak.
Homo Sapiens – Definition, Physical Characteristics, Behavior
Homo sapiens is the primate species to which modern humans belong. They originated about 200,000 years ago in Africa. Now, they are widely-distributed all over the world. The two subspecies of Homo sapiens are Homo sapiens sapiens and Homo sapiens idaltu. Homo sapiens idaltu is an extant subspecies and he is considered as the commonest ancestor of modern humans. He is referred to the ‘Herto man’. He originated about 160,000 years ago in Pleistocene Africa. On the other hand, modern human belongs to Homo sapiens sapiens.
The skull of the modern human has increased due to the decrease in thickness and the flat and nearly vertical forehead. Therefore, the size of the brain is increased in Homo sapiens. Moreover, the skeleton of Homo sapiens also has a lighter building. They have less heavily developed jaws and small teeth.
Furthermore, modern humans are capable of using more sophisticated tools such as sewing needles and spear throwers. They spend a settled life and are aware of domestication. Abstract thinking, planning depth, cultural diversity as well as symbolic expressions such as art and music are characteristic features of modern humans.
Similarities Between Homo Erectus and Homo Sapiens
- Homo erectus and Homo sapiens are two species of the human lineage.
- They have an upright posture, which allows them to walk on two legs.
- They have a well-developed postcranial skeleton and similar limb structures.
- Their teeth resemble the teeth of hominin, not the teeth of apes.
- Both are intelligent.
- The usage of fire, seek the shelter of caves, and the usage of a number of stone tools of the Acheulean category are some of their characteristic features.
- Both tend to live together and hunted in groups.
Difference Between Homo Erectus and Homo Sapiens
Homo erectus refers to an extinct species of archaic humans that lived throughout most of the Pleistocene geological epoch while Homo sapiens refers to the primate species to which modern humans belong.
While Homo erectus refers to ‘upright man’, Homo sapiens refers to ‘man who thinks’.
Thriving or Extinct
Homo erectus is an extinct species while Homo sapiens is a presently thriving species.
The Homo erectus evolved from Australopithecus around 2 Mya while the Homo sapiens evolved from European early modern humans about 300,000 years ago.
While Homo erectus lived in Africa and Eurasia by 1.8 Mya, Homo sapiens are widely-distributed all over the world.
Java man, Yuanmou Man, Lantian Man, Nanjing Man, Peking Man, Meganthropus, Solo Man, and Tautavel Man are some subspecies of Homo erectus while Homo sapiens sapiens and Homo sapiens idaltu (extinct) are the two subspecies of Homo Sapiens.
The brain size of Homo erectus was 850 cc to 1100 cc while the brain size of Homo sapiens is 1300 cc.
When comparing the intelligence, Homo erectus was comparatively less intelligent while Homo sapiens is intelligent.
Homo erectus had large teeth while Homo sapience has small teeth.
Whereas Homo erectus had heavily built jaws, Homo sapiens has less heavily built jaws.
Brow Ridges and Prognathism
Homo erectus had heavy eye ridges and more prognathism while Homo sapiens has less heavy eye ridges and less prognathism.
The chin of Homo erectus is less prominent while the chin of Homo sapiens is more prominent.
The facial features of Homo erectus were similar to that of apes while the facial features of Homo sapiens are similar to modern man.
While the Homo erectus had thicker and stronger bones throughout the skeleton, the Homo sapiens has less thick and less strong bones.
Legs and Arms
Also, the Homo erectus had longer legs and slender arms while the legs of Homo sapiens are comparatively short and arms are less slender.
Furthermore, the Homo sapiens is taller than the Homo erectus.
Looking at the ability of speech, the Homo erectus used a primitive speech while the Homo sapiens shows modern speech.
Sexual dimorphism was less pronounced in Homo erectus while sexual dimorphism is more pronounced in Homo sapiens.
Both Homo erectus and Homo sapiens are two species of the human lineage. Homo erectus was the first upright man and the first hominin who used fire. He used sophisticated tools and lived in caves. On the other hand, Homo sapiens, who gave rise to the modern man has more cognitive abilities than Homo erectus and uses more sophisticated tools. The main difference between them is the lighter skeleton, large brain, and the tools they use. These are the similarities and differences between Homo Erectus and Homo Sapiens.
1. “Homo erectus new” By reconstruction by W. Schnaubelt & N. Kieser (Atelier WILD LIFE ART)Homo_erectus.JPG: photographed by User:Lillyundfreya – Homo_erectus.JPG (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Homo sapiens – Paleolithic – reconstruction – MUSE” By Matteo De Stefano/MUSEThis file was uploaded by MUSE – Science Museum of Trento in cooperation with Wikimedia Italia. – MUSE (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia