Viewpoint: Here’s why it’s ‘moronic’ to suggest that Homo erectus was lazy

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Homo erectus. Image credit: Evolving Humans
[Y]ou’ve probably seen a headline or two (or twelve) touting a new discovery about our long extinct human relative, Homo erectus. According to a recent studysome outlets claimed, laziness may have contributed to the extinction of our predecessors. But the study, published in the journal PLOS One, reads quite differently than those sensationalized summaries.

“The inference that laziness typifies Homo erectus and that such a failing might have hastened their extinction is moronic,” says Neil Roach, a biological anthropologist at Harvard University.

[T]here’s a lot of evidence pointing to H. erectus as anything but lazy. The species survived for more than 1.5 million years. That’s pretty impressive compared to our measly 300,000 or so years on Earth. They may have been one of the first species to migrate out of Africa, says Roach, and are thought to be the first to hunt for food.

Related article:  Were Neanderthals doomed by their inbreeding?

[The paper] describes the early hominins as a “technologically conservative” species that used “least-effort strategies” to survive. But accomplishing tasks like hunting and foraging using the least amount of energy doesn’t quite equate to going hungry because you don’t feel like peeling yourself off the couch.

“The calories they got from hunting and gathering were not easily come by, so wasting efforts for no reason wasn’t a good strategy,” says Roach.

Read full, original post: Reports of Homo erectus’ laziness are ‘moronic’

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