SYDNEY – Laziness contributed, in part, to the extinction of Homo erectus, an extinct hominid that inhabited the Earth over a period ranging between 1.8 million years and 350,000 years before the current era, a scientific study revealed on Friday.
The study published by the Australian National University (ANU), in the scientific journal PLoS One, is based on the evidence found in archaeological excavations that took place in 2014 at the site of Saffaqah (Saudi Arabia) on ancient human populations dating from the Early Stone Age.
“They really don’t seem to have been pushing themselves. I don’t get the sense they were explorers looking over the horizon. They didn’t have that same sense of wonder that we have,” said Ceri Shipton, lead author of the study, in a statement.
According to the research, this extinct species were lazy when it came to innovating strategies to hunt and gather in this region on the Arabian Peninsula.
This lethargy also added to the Homo erectus’ inability to adapt to climate changes, which was possibly a key factor in its extinction.
Shipton pointed out that the evidence collected by the researchers in Saffaqah shows that Homo erectus made their tools with rocks they found near their camp instead of moving a little farther to a quarry that had better quality material.
“They knew it was there (up a small hill), but because they had enough adequate resources they seem to have thought, ‘why bother?’” said Shipton.
Evidence from this archaeological site showed their tools were comparatively of a lesser quality than those produced by species such as the first Homo sapiens or the Neanderthals.
Shipton stressed that their lack of technological development as well as the transformation of their habitat into a desert contributed to their disappearance.
“Not only were they lazy, but they were also very conservative,” she emphasized.
The remains of sediment collected from the surroundings showed that it was changing, but they did nothing much to adapt to the changes.
“There was no progression at all, and their tools are never very far from these now dry river beds. I think in the end the environment just got too dry for them,” Shipton concluded.