Researchers, after analysing new excavations in Indonesia, have claimed that modern humans never co-existed with Homo erectus.
The research offers new insights into the nature of human evolution, suggesting a different role for Homo erectus than had been previously thought.
The work was conducted by the Solo River Terrace (SoRT) Project, an international group of scientists directed by anthropologists Etty Indriati of Gadjah Mada University in Indonesia and Susan Anton of New York University.
Homo erectus is widely considered a direct human ancestor, it resembles modern humans in many respects, except for its smaller brain and differently shaped skull, and was the first of our ancestors to migrate out of Africa, approximately 1.8 million years ago.
Homo erectus went extinct in Africa and much of Asia by about 500,000 years ago, but appeared to have survived in Indonesia until about 35,000 to 50,000 years ago at the site of Ngandong on the Solo River.