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Homo Erectus under the stars that would become Orion

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#1 guangtou

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Posted 30 January 2015 - 09:15 AM

Taking Sky Safari Pro back to 1 million BC, most of the constellations we recognize today are of course skewed, at least from our perspective. I began to wonder, what would Homo Erectus have made of the stars that would become Orion? I have read that the use of fire could possibly date back to 1 million BC, and perhaps Homo Erectus is responsible for "doodlings" on the back of shells as early as 400,000 BC. So would Homo Erectus be the first to look up and form constellations?

 

Here is an image-ination of Homo Erectus, sitting by a fire on a plain in modern Ethiopia. As astronomical twilight ends, the stars that would someday be Orion shine above.

 

More info is available at:

 

https://flic.kr/p/qYqqAZ

Attached Thumbnails

  • homo erectus and orion.jpg

Edited by guangtou, 01 February 2015 - 07:45 PM.


#2 hm insulators

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 11:17 AM

Pretty picture! :waytogo:



#3 lsm4691

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 01:36 PM

They probably would have chosen a more protected area to keep from being dinner.

The January issue of Astronomy contains a short article addressing the same idea, only it reaches back 7 million years.  The feature describes a group of bipeds, near Chad, making their way to a cave (the protected area) as daylight fades.

Another un-answered question, but interesting to ponder.



#4 guangtou

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 01:53 PM

Good point about being out in the open- maybe that's why these 2 didn't make it.

On the other hand, if they were able to harness the power of fire, that may have emboldened them to spend more time under the stars.

#5 lsm4691

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 02:13 PM

Good point about being out in the open- maybe that's why these 2 didn't make it.

On the other hand, if they were able to harness the power of fire, that may have emboldened them to spend more time under the stars.

Yeah, I guess the fire may have kept some things at bay.  Not sure what all was roaming around during that time.  

What  a life though.

1) Kill something to eat

2) Make fire

3) Grill and eat

4) Gaze at stars

5) Sleep

During all of this, don't be eaten.

Repeat

 

Man, we really screwed that system up, didn't we.



#6 GlennLeDrew

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 02:23 PM

At that time Betelgeuse was possibly not yet a red supergiant, being instead bluish or white. Only during the last ~10% of a star's lifetime is it a bloated red giant or supergiant. This star is though to be no older than 10 Myr, probably a bit less, and so 1 Myr is expected to be the limit of the red supergiant phase.

#7 XyrcesFenol

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 02:56 PM

I did not notice it to start with, but in the photo he's defogging the front lens of a telescope by heating it up close to the fire. Must be a early singlet though. Or fisheye.



#8 rcooley

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 03:02 PM

there's a depiction of what they suspect are Taurus and the Pleiades amongst the 30,000+ year old paintings on the walls of the famous cave in France, Lascaux.  



#9 lsm4691

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 03:04 PM

I did not notice it to start with, but in the photo he's defogging the front lens of a telescope by heating it up close to the fire. Must be a early singlet though. Or fisheye.

Looks like he is holding a fish and a bottle of wine.  The other one is looking on in anticipation.  The kids are at grandma's.  Once the wine is gone, they'll use the bottle as a scope to look at stars.

 

Seriously though, it is pretty fascinating to think about not just their ideas about stars and space, but their whole existence and daily life.



#10 areyoukiddingme

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 04:19 PM

I believe the only thing we can be sure of here is that once fire was invented, someone would have complained about light pollution.



#11 MikeBOKC

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 06:14 PM

If you could read their lips you would see that they were involved in a heated discussion of the merits or demerits of Brandon eyepieces.



#12 rowdy388

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 08:50 PM

Reminds me of the opening sequence in 2001: A Space Odyssey.  The pre-humans look like they may be carrying bone clubs ready to whack any stargazers mouching in on their turf.

Dave Y



#13 JonNPR

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 09:23 PM

Nice post Brian. And creative use of modem tech to travel way back in time.

Jon

#14 bumm

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 09:27 PM

there's a depiction of what they suspect are Taurus and the Pleiades amongst the 30,000+ year old paintings on the walls of the famous cave in France, Lascaux.  

I tend to agree, and it amazes me.  I've seen astronomical significance ascribed to a number of cave paintings, but I'm very skeptical of most.  I'm convinced this one is the real thing.

                                   Marty



#15 KidOrion

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 09:53 PM

I did not notice it to start with, but in the photo he's defogging the front lens of a telescope by heating it up close to the fire. Must be a early singlet though. Or fisheye.

Primitive, man.

 

As the forum's resident Australopithecus, I use an Ostahowski 12.5" f/5.  Great for resolving globulars and setting cooking fires.

 

 Modern technology confuses and frightens me.



#16 guangtou

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Posted 04 February 2015 - 11:13 AM

Thanks for the replies all- time for me to rewatch Cave of Forgotten Dreams. Also sounds like I need to do some editing on Betelgeuse.

Perhaps somewhere in our collective unconscious is a forgotten star lore from when different constellations ruled the sky.

#17 Starman1

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Posted 04 February 2015 - 11:58 AM

The depiction shows a fully-haired species with ape-like appearance.

By 1 million years ago, our ancestors were several million years removed from the common ancestor of apes and men.

They likely were as nearly hairless as modern man, especially given the environment.

They also were close to as tall as modern men.  We shrank a bit in height when we became a sedentary species and only started growing again in the last couple hundred years, probably due to better nutrition.

[WHO says global figures for males are between 160 and 180cm, and the Lake Turkana boy (1.6myo) dug up by Leakey would have grown to 163-185cm in height, and other limb bones imply similar stature]

From the neck down, there was very little to distinguish adult Homo erectus specimens from the modern form.

When I was a student at the university, we did anthropometric measurements of a large number of Freshmen every year.  The school had done that for 50 years and was interested in seeing how humans were changing on a physical level as time went on.

We measured cranial capacities from around 850cc to around 2700cc (modern average is~1150-1450cc, smaller than the Neanderthals). That convinced me that the brain capacity of Homo erectus was more than large enough for speech and culture, though it was likely the brain was still developing in complexity during that period.

So they may have done a connect-the-dots pattern imprint on the stars in the sky, but who knows what stories would have been told about them?



#18 Stargaz18

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Posted 04 February 2015 - 01:21 PM

Don in the future I think you'll find serveral variances on the humans inhabiting this world. We'll have a bunch of short, skinny folks, the refractor crowd. The taller stout ones will be the large Dobsonian folks. Then there'll be the inbetweens, the SCT/Newt/Mak folks. Amazingly they'll all get along except for the arguing about who's better.....



#19 csrlice12

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Posted 04 February 2015 - 01:25 PM

They're in the process of discovering pizza delivery to go with their telescope.....hey, they stood upright, but they also fell down and got ate a lot......in those day's looking down or straight out probably took up more of their time then looking up........either for food, or to keep from being food....



#20 guangtou

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Posted 05 February 2015 - 06:01 AM

The depiction shows a fully-haired species with ape-like appearance.

By 1 million years ago, our ancestors were several million years removed from the common ancestor of apes and men.

They likely were as nearly hairless as modern man, especially given the environment.

 

Thanks for the great info Don. Going back to the Wikipedia page, this is where I obtained the Homo Erectus for my image: http://en.wikipedia....omo_erectus.jpg

 

I do notice that the reconstructions are less hairy and ape-like, as you point out. I think it is back to the drawing board for this one!



#21 csrlice12

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Posted 05 February 2015 - 11:18 AM

So we were more like Ringo Starr in "Caveman" then.............. :grin:



#22 cwilson

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Posted 07 February 2015 - 08:32 AM

The depiction shows a fully-haired species with ape-like appearance.

By 1 million years ago, our ancestors were several million years removed from the common ancestor of apes and men.

They likely were as nearly hairless as modern man, especially given the environment.

They also were close to as tall as modern men.  We shrank a bit in height when we became a sedentary species and only started growing again in the last couple hundred years, probably due to better nutrition.

[WHO says global figures for males are between 160 and 180cm, and the Lake Turkana boy (1.6myo) dug up by Leakey would have grown to 163-185cm in height, and other limb bones imply similar stature]

From the neck down, there was very little to distinguish adult Homo erectus specimens from the modern form.

When I was a student at the university, we did anthropometric measurements of a large number of Freshmen every year.  The school had done that for 50 years and was interested in seeing how humans were changing on a physical level as time went on.

We measured cranial capacities from around 850cc to around 2700cc (modern average is~1150-1450cc, smaller than the Neanderthals). That convinced me that the brain capacity of Homo erectus was more than large enough for speech and culture, though it was likely the brain was still developing in complexity during that period.

So they may have done a connect-the-dots pattern imprint on the stars in the sky, but who knows what stories would have been told about them?

 

So how many of the Freshmen turned out to be Homo erectus? :lol:



#23 cwilson

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Posted 07 February 2015 - 08:33 AM

Taking Sky Safari Pro back to 1 million BC, most of the constellations we recognize today are of course skewed, at least from our perspective. I began to wonder, what would Homo Erectus have made of the stars that would become Orion? I have read that the use of fire could possibly date back to 1 million BC, and perhaps Homo Erectus is responsible for "doodlings" on the back of shells as early as 400,000 BC. So would Homo Erectus be the first to look up and form constellations?

 

Here is an image-ination of Homo Erectus, sitting by a fire on a plain in modern Ethiopia. As astronomical twilight ends, the stars that would someday be Orion shine above.

 

More info is available at:

 

https://flic.kr/p/qYqqAZ

 

They're probably debating the merits of a Dob versus an SCT. ;)



#24 Starman1

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Posted 07 February 2015 - 10:56 AM

 

The depiction shows a fully-haired species with ape-like appearance.

By 1 million years ago, our ancestors were several million years removed from the common ancestor of apes and men.

They likely were as nearly hairless as modern man, especially given the environment.

They also were close to as tall as modern men.  We shrank a bit in height when we became a sedentary species and only started growing again in the last couple hundred years, probably due to better nutrition.

[WHO says global figures for males are between 160 and 180cm, and the Lake Turkana boy (1.6myo) dug up by Leakey would have grown to 163-185cm in height, and other limb bones imply similar stature]

From the neck down, there was very little to distinguish adult Homo erectus specimens from the modern form.

When I was a student at the university, we did anthropometric measurements of a large number of Freshmen every year.  The school had done that for 50 years and was interested in seeing how humans were changing on a physical level as time went on.

We measured cranial capacities from around 850cc to around 2700cc (modern average is~1150-1450cc, smaller than the Neanderthals). That convinced me that the brain capacity of Homo erectus was more than large enough for speech and culture, though it was likely the brain was still developing in complexity during that period.

So they may have done a connect-the-dots pattern imprint on the stars in the sky, but who knows what stories would have been told about them?

 

So how many of the Freshmen turned out to be Homo erectus? :lol:

 

One guy had a brow ridge over his eyes and a single brow that went across.  He also had a sloping forehead and a very short distance between his eyebrow and his hair line.

He was the closest I've seen.

I'm not sure earlier forms of Man actually died out.  I think they just got a shave, put on a suit, and walk among us. :lol:



#25 csrlice12

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Posted 07 February 2015 - 11:17 AM

Then there are the Fremen Sasquatch....rumor has it they exist in vast numbers in the desert forests thruout the world......




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