Homo ergaster

  • Susan C. AntónEmail author
  • Emily R. Middleton
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-51726-1_688-2


Homo ergaster is a paleospecies often used to describe a subset of fossils within Homo erectus. Proponents generally allocate early African Homo erectus fossils dating from c. 1.8 to 1.4 Ma to Homo ergaster, mainly on the basis of smaller, more gracile crania and a lack of robust cranial suprastructures. In this schema, the geographic distribution of Homo erectus sensu stricto is restricted to Asian localities with a few examples (e.g., OH 9) of back migration into Africa. Homo ergaster includes the early African and Georgian specimens attributed by others to H. erectus and is therefore posited as the ancestor to Homo erectus, Homo heidelbergensis, and Homo sapiens (Wood 1994). However, considerable debate over the validity of the taxon exists, and there is growing support for the idea that the African and Asian specimens instead constitute a single, long-lived, polytypic species, Homo erectus (e.g., Rightmire 1990; Antón 2003, 2012).


Species History and...

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Further Reading

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  3. Wood, B.A., and M.C. Collard. 1999. The human genus. Science 284: 65–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyNew York University and New York Consortium for Evolutionary PrimatologyNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Wisconsin-MilwaukeeMilwaukeeUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Chen Shen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of World CulturesRoyal Ontario MuseumTorontoCanada