Upright man

Trailblazers of human history, extinct 50,000 years

The first early humans to hit the road and explore beyond their African homeland. They arrived in Asia around 1.8 million years ago, marking a milestone in human evolution.

They became efficient runners and hunters thanks to their current human-like body proportions, giving them the utmost advantage in their habitats.

They were more advanced than their ancestors, showing more sophisticated cognitive abilities. But their talents didn’t stop there. Homo erectus was the first early humans to harness the power of fire and create advanced stone tools and possibly the first to cook food.

It’s no wonder that Homo erectus dominated the landscape for nearly two million years.


Population est.
Official estimate
Extinct 50,000 years ago
Official estimate
Exinct 50,000 years ago

Did you know?

  • Recent genetic studies of ancient DNA suggest that Homo erectus interbred with other early human species in Asia, including Homo sapiens and Denisovans. This means that Homo erectus played a significant role in the evolution of modern humans.
  • Homo erectus was the first human ancestor to have a significantly larger brain than their predecessors, with an average brain volume of around 900 cubic centimeters.
  • Research suggests that Homo erectus was the first human ancestor to have a modern human-like body shape, with long legs and a short pelvis. This adaptation allowed them to become efficient runners and may have contributed to their success as a species.
  • A recent study using CT scans of Homo erectus skulls found evidence that they had a complex communication system and could produce a wide range of vocalizations, possibly including language.
  • A recent analysis of Homo erectus fossils from Georgia, dating to around 1.8 million years ago, suggests that they could adapt to a wide range of environments, from forested areas to open grasslands.
  • Dutch physician Eugene Dubois first discovered Homo erectus in Java, Indonesia, in 1891. Dubois named the species Pithecanthropus erectus, which means “upright ape-man.”
  • The discovery of the “Turkana Boy” fossil in Kenya, a nearly complete skeleton of a Homo erectus juvenile, provided valuable insights into the anatomy and development of this species. The Turkana Boy is estimated to have lived around 1.5 million years ago and is considered one of the most important early human fossils ever found.

Anything we've missed?

Help us improve this page by suggesting edits. Glory never dies!

Suggest an edit

Get to know me

Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic / Monomorphic (size)

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd / Group

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No