The Pliocene Epoch is the epoch in the geologic timescale that extends from 5.333 million to 2.58 million years BP. It is the youngest epoch of the Neogene Period in the Cenozoic Era; the Pliocene is followed by the Pleistocene Epoch. Prior to the 2009 revision of the geologic time scale, which placed the four most recent major glaciations within the Pleistocene, the Pliocene included the Gelasian stage, which lasted from 2.588 to 1.806 million years ago, is now included in the Pleistocene. As with other older geologic periods, the geological strata that define the start and end are well identified but the exact dates of the start and end of the epoch are uncertain; the boundaries defining the Pliocene are not set at an identified worldwide event but rather at regional boundaries between the warmer Miocene and the cooler Pliocene. The upper boundary was set at the start of the Pleistocene glaciations. Charles Lyell gave the Pliocene its name in Principles of Geology; the word pliocene comes from the Greek words πλεῖον and καινός and means "continuation of the recent", referring to the modern marine mollusc fauna.
H. W. Fowler called the term Pliocene a "regrettable barbarism" and an indication that "a good classical scholar" such as Lyell should have requested a philologist's help when coining words. To summarize the usage of these "regrettable barbarisms" in the labelling of the Cenozoic era: with the understanding that these are all new relative to the Mesozoic and Paleozoic eras. In the official timescale of the ICS, the Pliocene is subdivided into two stages. From youngest to oldest they are: Piacenzian Zanclean The Piacenzian is sometimes referred to as the Late Pliocene, whereas the Zanclean is referred to as the Early Pliocene. In the system of North American Land Mammal Ages include Hemphillian, Blancan; the Blancan extends forward into the Pleistocene. South American Land Mammal Ages include Montehermosan and Uquian. In the Paratethys area the Pliocene contains the Romanian stages; as usual in stratigraphy, there are many other local subdivisions in use. In Britain the Pliocene is divided into the following stages: Gedgravian, Pre-Ludhamian, Thurnian, Bramertonian or Antian, Pre-Pastonian or Baventian and Beestonian.
In the Netherlands the Pliocene is divided into these stages: Brunssumian C, Reuverian A, Reuverian B, Reuverian C, Tiglian A, Tiglian B, Tiglian C1-4b, Tiglian C4c, Tiglian C5, Tiglian C6 and Eburonian. The exact correlations between these local stages and the ICS stages is still a matter of detail; the global average temperature in the mid-Pliocene was 2–3 °C higher than today, carbon dioxide levels were the same as today, global sea level was 25 m higher. The northern hemisphere ice sheet was ephemeral before the onset of extensive glaciation over Greenland that occurred in the late Pliocene around 3 Ma; the formation of an Arctic ice cap is signaled by an abrupt shift in oxygen isotope ratios and ice-rafted cobbles in the North Atlantic and North Pacific ocean beds. Mid-latitude glaciation was underway before the end of the epoch; the global cooling that occurred during the Pliocene may have spurred on the disappearance of forests and the spread of grasslands and savannas. Continents continued to drift, moving from positions as far as 250 km from their present locations to positions only 70 km from their current locations.
South America became linked to North America through the Isthmus of Panama during the Pliocene, making possible the Great American Interchange and bringing a nearly complete end to South America's distinctive large marsupial predator and native ungulate faunas. The formation of the Isthmus had major consequences on global temperatures, since warm equatorial ocean currents were cut off and an Atlantic cooling cycle began, with cold Arctic and Antarctic waters dropping temperatures in the now-isolated Atlantic Ocean. Africa's collision with Europe formed the Mediterranean Sea, cutting off the remnants of the Tethys Ocean; the border between the Miocene and the Pliocene is the time of the Messinian salinity crisis. Sea level changes exposed the land bridge between Asia. Pliocene marine rocks are well exposed in the Mediterranean and China. Elsewhere, they are exposed near shores. During the Pliocene parts of southern Norway and southern Sweden, near sea level rose. In Norway this rise elevated the Hardangervidda plateau to 1200 m in the Early Pliocene.
In Southern Sweden similar movements elevated the South Swedish highlands leading to a deflection of the ancient Eridanos river from its original path across south-central Sweden into a course south of Sweden. The change to a cooler, seasonal climate had considerable impacts on Pliocene vegetation, reducing tropical species worldwide. Deciduous forests proliferated, coniferous forests and tundra covered much of the north, grasslands spread on all continents. Tropical forests were limited to a tight band around the equator, in addition to dry savannahs, deserts appeared in Asia and Africa. Both marine and co
Neanderthals are an extinct species or subspecies of archaic humans in the genus Homo, who lived within Eurasia from circa 400,000 until 40,000 years ago. The earliest fossils of Neanderthals in Europe are dated between 450,000 and 430,000 years ago, thereafter Neanderthals expanded into Southwest and Central Asia, they are known from numerous fossils, as well as stone tool assemblages. All assemblages younger than 160,000 years are of the so-called Mousterian techno-complex, characterised by tools made out of stone flakes; the type specimen is Neanderthal 1, found in Neander Valley in the German Rhineland, in 1856. Compared to modern humans, Neanderthals were stockier, with bigger bodies. In conformance with Bergmann's rule, as well as Allen's rule, this was was an adaptation to preserve heat in cold climates. Male and female Neanderthals had cranial capacities averaging 1,600 cm3 and 1,300 cm3 within the range of the values for anatomically modern humans. Average males stood around females 152 to 156 cm tall.
There has been growing evidence for admixture between Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans, reflected in the genomes of all modern non-African populations but not in the genomes of most sub-Saharan Africans. This suggests that interbreeding between Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans took place after the recent "out of Africa" migration, around 70,000 years ago. Recent admixture analyses have added to the complexity, finding that Eastern Neanderthals derived up to 2% of their ancestry from anatomically modern humans who left Africa some 100,000 years ago. Neanderthals are named after one of the first sites where their fossils were discovered in the mid-19th century in the Neander Valley, just east of Düsseldorf, at the time in the Rhine Province of the Kingdom of Prussia; the valley itself was named for Joachim Neander, Neander being the graecicized form of the surname Neumann. The German spelling of Thal "Valley" was current in the 19th century. Neanderthal 1 was known as the "Neanderthal cranium" or "Neanderthal skull" in anthropological literature, the individual reconstructed on the basis of the skull was called "the Neanderthal man".
The binomial name Homo neanderthalensis—extending the name "Neanderthal man" from the individual type specimen to the entire group—was first proposed by the Anglo-Irish geologist William King in a paper read to the British Association in 1863, although in the following year he stated that the specimen was not human and rejected the name. King's name had priority over the proposal put forward in 1866 by Homo stupidus. Popular English usage of "Neanderthal" as shorthand for "Neanderthal man", as in "the Neanderthals" or "a Neanderthal", emerged in the popular literature of the 1920s. Since the historical spelling -th- in German represents the phoneme /t/ or /tʰ/, not the fricative /θ/, standard British pronunciation of "Neanderthal" is with /t/; because of the usual sound represented by digraph ⟨th⟩ in English, "Neanderthal" is pronounced with the voiceless fricative /θ/, at least in "layman's American English". The spelling Neandertal is seen in English in scientific publications. Since "Neanderthal", or "Neandertal", is a common name, there is no authoritative prescription on its spelling, unlike the spelling of the binominal name H. neanderthalensis, predicated by King 1864.
The common name in German is always invariably Neandertaler, not Neandertal, but the spelling of the name of the Neander Valley itself has been affected by the species name, the names of the Neanderthal Museum and of Neanderthal station persisting with pre-1900 orthography. Since the discovery of the Neanderthal fossils, expert opinion has been divided as to whether Neanderthals should be considered a separate species or a subspecies relative to modern humans. Pääbo described such "taxonomic wars" as unresolveable in principle, "since there is no definition of species describing the case." The question depends on the definition of Homo sapiens as a chronospecies, in flux throughout the 20th century. Authorities preferring classification of Neanderthals as subspecies have introduced the subspecies name Homo sapiens sapiens for the anatomically modern Cro-Magnon population which lived in Europe at the same time as Neanderthals, while authorities preferring classification as separate species use Homo sapiens as equivalent to "anatomically modern humans".
During the early 20th century, a prevailing view of Neanderthals as "simian", influenced by Arthur Keith and Marcellin Boule, tended to exaggerate the anatomical differences between Neanderthals and Cro Magnon. Beginning in the 1930s, revised reconstructions of Neanderthals emphasized the similarity rather than differences from modern humans. From the 1940s throughout the 1970s, it was common to use the subspecies classification of Homo sapiens neanderthalensis vs. Homo sapiens sapiens; the hypothesis of "multiregional origin" of modern man was formulated in the 1980s on such grounds, arguing for the presence of an unbroken succession of fossil sites in both Europe and Asia. Hybridization between Neanderthals and Cro Magnon had been suggested on skeletal and craniological grounds since the early 20th century, found increasing support in the 20th century, until Neanderthal admixture was found to be present in modern populations genet
Homo habilis is a proposed archaic species of Homo, which lived between 2.1 and 1.5 million years ago, during the Gelasian and early Calabrian stages of the Pleistocene geological epoch. The type specimen is OH 7, discovered in 1960 at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, associated with the Oldowan lithic industry. In its appearance and morphology, H. habilis is intermediate between Australopithecus and the somewhat younger Homo erectus and its classification in the genus Homo has been the subject of controversial debate since its original proposal. A main argument for its classification as the first Homo species was its use of flaked stone tools. However, evidence for earlier tool use by undisputed members of Australopithecus has been found in the 1990s. In January 2019, scientists reported that Australopithecus sediba is distinct from, but shares anatomical similarities to, both the older Australopithecus africanus, the younger Homo habilis. There has been scholarly debate regarding its placement in the genus Homo rather than the genus Australopithecus.
The small size and rather primitive attributes have led some experts to propose excluding H. habilis from the genus Homo and placing them instead in Australopithecus as Australopithecus habilis. Louis Leakey, the British-Kenyan paleoanthropologist, the first to suggest the existence of H. habilis, his wife, Mary Leakey, found the first trace of H. habilis in 1955: two hominin teeth. These were classified as "milk teeth", therefore considered difficult to link to taxa, unlike permanent teeth. H. habilis had disproportionately long arms compared to modern humans. H. habilis had a cranial capacity less than half of the size of modern humans. Despite the ape-like morphology of the bodies, H. habilis remains are accompanied by primitive stone tools. Homo habilis has been thought to be the ancestor of the more gracile and sophisticated Homo ergaster, which in turn gave rise to the more human-appearing species, Homo erectus. Debates continue over whether all of the known fossils are properly attributed to the species, some paleoanthropologists regard the taxon as invalid, made up of fossil specimens of Australopithecus and Homo.
New findings in 2007 seemed to confirm the view that H. habilis and H. erectus coexisted, representing separate lineages from a common ancestor instead of H. erectus being descended from H. habilis. An alternative explanation would be that any ancestral relationship from H. habilis to H. erectus would have to have been cladogenetic rather than anagenetic. Discoveries at Dmanisi, which had diverse physical traits and differences in tooth wear, suggest to some scholars that all the contemporary groups of early Homo in Africa, including Homo ergaster, Homo habilis, Homo rudolfensis are of the same species and should be assigned to Homo erectus, with the implication that variation between these “species” represents the prolonged evolution of one lineage, rather than interspecific differences. H. habilis brain size has been shown to range from 550 cubic centimetres to 687 cubic centimetres, rather than from 363 cubic centimetres to 600 cubic centimetres as thought. A virtual reconstruction published in 2015 estimated the endocranial volume at between 729 millilitres and 824 millilitres, larger than any published value.
H. Habilis' brain capacity of around 640 cm³ was on average 50% larger than australopithecines, but smaller than the 1,350 cubic centimetres to 1,450 cubic centimetres range of modern Homo sapiens; these hominins were smaller on average standing no more than 1.3 metres. The body proportions for H. habilis are in accordance with craniodental evidence, suggesting closer association with H. erectus. Based on dental microwear-texture analysis, Homo habilis did not specialize on tough foods. Microwear-texture complexity is, on average, somewhere between that of tough-food feeders and leaf feeders These measurements are analyses of the percentages of tooth surface structure containing "pits", it is a used, henceforth accepted as reliable, measure of wear that a species, on average, endures from eating certain food. These measurements point to an generalized, omnivorous diet in Homo habilis. Homo habilis is thought to have mastered the Lower Paleolithic Olduwan tool set, which used stone flakes. H. habilis used these stones to skin animals.
These stone flakes were more advanced than any tools used, gave H. habilis the edge it needed to prosper in hostile environments too formidable for primates. Whether H. habilis was the first hominin to master stone tool technology remains controversial, as Australopithecus garhi, dated to 2.6 million years ago, has been found along with stone tool implements. Most experts assume the intelligence and social organization of H. habilis were more sophisticated than typical australopithecines
The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric period during which stone was used to make implements with an edge, a point, or a percussion surface. The period lasted 3.4 million years and ended between 8700 BCE and 2000 BCE with the advent of metalworking. Stone Age artifacts include tools used by modern humans and by their predecessor species in the genus Homo, by the earlier contemporaneous genera Australopithecus and Paranthropus. Bone tools were used during this period as well but are preserved in the archaeological record; the Stone Age is further subdivided by the types of stone tools in use. The Stone Age is the first period in the three-age system of archaeology, which divides human technological prehistory into three periods: The Stone Age The Bronze Age The Iron Age The Stone Age is contemporaneous with the evolution of the genus Homo, the only exception being the early Stone Age, when species prior to Homo may have manufactured tools. According to the age and location of the current evidence, the cradle of the genus is the East African Rift System toward the north in Ethiopia, where it is bordered by grasslands.
The closest relative among the other living primates, the genus Pan, represents a branch that continued on in the deep forest, where the primates evolved. The rift served as a conduit for movement into southern Africa and north down the Nile into North Africa and through the continuation of the rift in the Levant to the vast grasslands of Asia. Starting from about 4 million years ago a single biome established itself from South Africa through the rift, North Africa, across Asia to modern China, called "transcontinental'savannahstan'" recently. Starting in the grasslands of the rift, Homo erectus, the predecessor of modern humans, found an ecological niche as a tool-maker and developed a dependence on it, becoming a "tool equipped savanna dweller"; the oldest indirect evidence found of stone tool use is fossilised animal bones with tool marks. Archaeological discoveries in Kenya in 2015, identifying the oldest known evidence of hominin use of tools to date, have indicated that Kenyanthropus platyops may have been the earliest tool-users known.
The oldest stone tools were excavated from the site of Lomekwi 3 in West Turkana, northwestern Kenya, date to 3.3 million years old. Prior to the discovery of these "Lomekwian" tools, the oldest known stone tools had been found at several sites at Gona, Ethiopia, on the sediments of the paleo-Awash River, which serve to date them. All the tools come from the Busidama Formation, which lies above a disconformity, or missing layer, which would have been from 2.9 to 2.7 mya. The oldest sites containing tools are dated to 2.6–2.55 mya. One of the most striking circumstances about these sites is that they are from the Late Pliocene, where previous to their discovery tools were thought to have evolved only in the Pleistocene. Excavators at the locality point out that: "...the earliest stone tool makers were skilled flintknappers.... The possible reasons behind this seeming abrupt transition from the absence of stone tools to the presence thereof include... gaps in the geological record."The species who made the Pliocene tools remains unknown.
Fragments of Australopithecus garhi, Australopithecus aethiopicus and Homo Homo habilis, have been found in sites near the age of the Gona tools. In July 2018, scientists reported the discovery in China of the oldest stone tools outside Africa, estimated at 2.12 million years old. Innovation of the technique of smelting ore began the Bronze Age; the first most significant metal manufactured was bronze, an alloy of copper and tin, each of, smelted separately. The transition from the Stone Age to the Bronze Age was a period during which modern people could smelt copper, but did not yet manufacture bronze, a time known as the Copper Age, or more technically the Chalcolithic, "copper-stone" age; the Chalcolithic by convention is the initial period of the Bronze Age. The Bronze Age was followed by the Iron Age; the transition out of the Stone Age occurred between 6000 BCE and 2500 BCE for much of humanity living in North Africa and Eurasia. The first evidence of human metallurgy dates to between the 5th and 6th millennium BCE in the archaeological sites of Majdanpek and Pločnik in modern-day Serbia, though not conventionally considered part of the Chalcolithic or "Copper Age", this provides the earliest known example of copper metallurgy.
Note the Rudna Glava mine in Serbia. Ötzi the Iceman, a mummy from about 3300 BCE carried with him a flint knife. In regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa, the Stone Age was followed directly by the Iron Age; the Middle East and southeastern Asian regions progressed past Stone Age technology around 6000 BCE. Europe, the rest of Asia became post-Stone Age societies by about 4000 BCE; the proto-Inca cultures of South America continued at a Stone Age level until around 2000 BCE, when gold and silver made their entrance. The Americas notably did not develop a widespread behavior of smelting Bronze or Iron after the Stone Age period, although the technology existed. Stone tool manufacture continued after the Stone Age ended in a given area. In Europe and North America, millstones were in use until well into the 20th century, still are in many parts of the world; the terms "Stone Age", "Bronze Age", "Iron Age" were never meant to suggest that advancement and time periods in prehistory are only measured by the type of tool material, rather than, for
The Pleistocene is the geological epoch which lasted from about 2,588,000 to 11,700 years ago, spanning the world's most recent period of repeated glaciations. The end of the Pleistocene corresponds with the end of the last glacial period and with the end of the Paleolithic age used in archaeology; the Pleistocene is the first epoch of the Quaternary Period or sixth epoch of the Cenozoic Era. In the ICS timescale, the Pleistocene is divided into four stages or ages, the Gelasian, Middle Pleistocene and Upper Pleistocene. In addition to this international subdivision, various regional subdivisions are used. Before a change confirmed in 2009 by the International Union of Geological Sciences, the time boundary between the Pleistocene and the preceding Pliocene was regarded as being at 1.806 million years Before Present, as opposed to the accepted 2.588 million years BP: publications from the preceding years may use either definition of the period. Charles Lyell introduced the term "Pleistocene" in 1839 to describe strata in Sicily that had at least 70% of their molluscan fauna still living today.
This distinguished it from the older Pliocene epoch, which Lyell had thought to be the youngest fossil rock layer. He constructed the name "Pleistocene" from the Greek πλεῖστος, pleīstos, "most", καινός, kainós, "new"; the Pleistocene has been dated from 2.588 million to 11,700 years BP with the end date expressed in radiocarbon years as 10,000 carbon-14 years BP. It covers most of the latest period of repeated glaciation, up to and including the Younger Dryas cold spell; the end of the Younger Dryas has been dated to about 9640 BC. The end of the Younger Dryas is the official start of the current Holocene Epoch. Although it is considered an epoch, the Holocene is not different from previous interglacial intervals within the Pleistocene, it was not until after the development of radiocarbon dating, that Pleistocene archaeological excavations shifted to stratified caves and rock-shelters as opposed to open-air river-terrace sites. In 2009 the International Union of Geological Sciences confirmed a change in time period for the Pleistocene, changing the start date from 1.806 to 2.588 million years BP, accepted the base of the Gelasian as the base of the Pleistocene, namely the base of the Monte San Nicola GSSP.
The IUGS has yet to approve a type section, Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point, for the upper Pleistocene/Holocene boundary. The proposed section is the North Greenland Ice Core Project ice core 75° 06' N 42° 18' W; the lower boundary of the Pleistocene Series is formally defined magnetostratigraphically as the base of the Matuyama chronozone, isotopic stage 103. Above this point there are notable extinctions of the calcareous nanofossils: Discoaster pentaradiatus and Discoaster surculus; the Pleistocene covers the recent period of repeated glaciations. The name Plio-Pleistocene has, in the past, been used to mean the last ice age; the revised definition of the Quaternary, by pushing back the start date of the Pleistocene to 2.58 Ma, results in the inclusion of all the recent repeated glaciations within the Pleistocene. The modern continents were at their present positions during the Pleistocene, the plates upon which they sit having moved no more than 100 km relative to each other since the beginning of the period.
According to Mark Lynas, the Pleistocene's overall climate could be characterized as a continuous El Niño with trade winds in the south Pacific weakening or heading east, warm air rising near Peru, warm water spreading from the west Pacific and the Indian Ocean to the east Pacific, other El Niño markers. Pleistocene climate was marked by repeated glacial cycles in which continental glaciers pushed to the 40th parallel in some places, it is estimated. In addition, a zone of permafrost stretched southward from the edge of the glacial sheet, a few hundred kilometres in North America, several hundred in Eurasia; the mean annual temperature at the edge of the ice was −6 °C. Each glacial advance tied up huge volumes of water in continental ice sheets 1,500 to 3,000 metres thick, resulting in temporary sea-level drops of 100 metres or more over the entire surface of the Earth. During interglacial times, such as at present, drowned coastlines were common, mitigated by isostatic or other emergent motion of some regions.
The effects of glaciation were global. Antarctica was ice-bound throughout the Pleistocene as well as the preceding Pliocene; the Andes were covered in the south by the Patagonian ice cap. There were glaciers in New Tasmania; the current decaying glaciers of Mount Kenya, Mount Kilimanjaro, the Ruwenzori Range in east and central Africa were larger. Glaciers existed to the west in the Atlas mountains. In the northern hemisphere, many glaciers fused into one; the Cordilleran ice sheet covered the North American northwest. The Fenno-Scandian ice sheet rested including much of Great Britain. Scattered domes stretched across Siberi
The Generic Universal RolePlaying System, or GURPS, is a tabletop role-playing game system designed to allow for play in any game setting. It was created by Steve Jackson Games and first published in 1986 at a time when most such systems were story- or genre-specific. Players control their in-game characters verbally and the success of their actions are determined by the skill of their character, the difficulty of the action, the rolling of dice. Characters earn points during play. Gaming sessions are story-told and run by "Game Masters". GURPS won the Origins Award for Best Roleplaying Rules of 1988, in 2000 it was inducted into the Origins Hall of Fame. Many of its expansions have won awards. Prior to GURPS, roleplaying games of the 1970s and early 1980s were developed for certain gaming environments, they were incompatible with one another. For example, TSR published its Dungeons & Dragons game for a fantasy environment. Another game from the same company, Star Frontiers, was developed for science fiction–based role-playing.
TSR produced other games for other environments, such as Gamma World, Top Secret and Boot Hill. Each of these games was set with its own self-contained rules system, the rules for playing each game differed from one game to the next. Attempts were made in Advanced Dungeons and Dragons to allow cross-genre games using Gamma World and Boot Hill rules. Though it was preceded by Basic Role-Playing and the Hero System, GURPS was the most commercially successful generic role-playing game system to allow players to role-play in any environment they please while still using the same set of core rules; this flexibility of environment is aided by the use of technology levels that allow a campaign to be set from the Stone Age to the Digital Age or beyond. Role-playing games of the 1970s and 1980s, such as Dungeons & Dragons used random numbers generated by dice rolls to assign statistics to player characters. GURPS, following the lead of the Hero System first used by the Champions role-playing game, assigned players a specified number of points with which to build their characters.
These points were spent to get attributes and advantages, such as the ability to cast magic spells. Additional points can be obtained by accepting lower-than-average attributes and other limitations. GURPS' emphasis on its generic aspect has proven to be a successful marketing tactic, as many game series have source engines which can be retrofitted to many styles, its approach to versatility includes using real world measurements wherever possible. GURPS benefits from the many dozens of worldbooks describing settings or additional rules in all genres including science fiction and historical. Many popular game designers began their professional careers as GURPS writers, including C. J. Carella, Robin Laws, S. John Ross, Fudge creator Steffan O'Sullivan; the immediate mechanical antecedent of GURPS was The Fantasy Trip, an early role-playing game written by Steve Jackson for the company Metagaming Concepts. Several of the core concepts of GURPS first appeared in TFT, including the inclusion of Strength and Intelligence as the core abilities scores of each character.
A Basic GURPS set was published in 1986 and 1987 and included two booklets, one for developing characters and one for Adventuring. In 1990 GURPS intersected part of the hacker subculture when the company's Austin, offices were raided by the Secret Service; the target was the author of GURPS Cyberpunk in relation to E911 Emergency Response system documents stolen from Bell South. The incident was a direct contributor to the founding of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. A common misconception holds that this raid was part of Operation Sundevil and carried out by the FBI. Operation: Sundevil was in action at the same time, but it was separate. See Steve Jackson Games, Inc. v. United States Secret Service. A free PDF version of the GURPS rules was released as GURPS Lite; this limited ruleset was included with various books such as GURPS Discworld and Transhuman Space. Steve Jackson Games released GURPS Fourth Edition at the first day of Gen Con on August 19, 2004, it promised to streamline most areas of play and character creation.
The changes include modification of the attribute point adjustments, an edited and rationalized skill list, clarification of the differences between abilities from experience and from inborn talent, more detailed language rules, revised technology levels. Designed by Sean Punch, the Fourth Edition is sold as two full-color hardcover books as well as in the PDF format. A character in GURPS is built with character points. For a beginning character in an average power game, the 4th edition suggests 100–150 points to modify attribute stats, select advantages and disadvantages, purchase levels in skills. Normal NPCs are built on 25–50 points. Full-fledged heroes have 150–250 points, while superheroes are built with 400–800 points; the highest point value recorded for a canon character in a GURPS sourcebook is 10,452 for the Harvester in GURPS Monsters. In principle, a Game Master can balance the power of foes to the abilities of the player characters by comparing their relative point values. Characters in GURPS have four basic attributes: Streng
Homo erectus is a species of archaic humans that lived throughout most of the Pleistocene geological epoch. Its earliest fossil evidence dates to 1.8 million years ago. A debate regarding the classification and progeny of H. erectus in relation to Homo ergaster, is ongoing, with two major positions: 1) H. erectus is the same species as H. ergaster, thereby H. erectus is a direct ancestor of the hominins including Homo heidelbergensis, Homo antecessor, Homo neanderthalensis, Homo Denisova, Homo sapiens. Some paleoanthropologists consider H. ergaster to be a variety, that is, the "African" variety, of H. erectus. H. Erectus became extinct throughout its range in Africa and Asia, but developed into derived species, notably Homo heidelbergensis; as a chronospecies, the time of its disappearance is thus a matter of contention. The species name proposed in 1950 defines Java Man as the type specimen. Since there has been a trend in palaeoanthropology of reducing the number of proposed species of Homo, to the point where H. erectus includes all early forms of Homo sufficiently derived from H. habilis and distinct from early H. heidelbergensis.
In this wider sense, H. erectus had been replaced by H. heidelbergensis by about 300,000 years ago, with possible late survival in Java as late as 70,000 years ago. The discovery of the morphologically divergent Dmanisi skull 5 in 2013 has reinforced the trend of subsuming fossils given separate species names under H. erectus considered as a wide-ranging, polymorphous species. Thus, H. ergaster is now well within the accepted morphological range of H. erectus, it has been suggested that H. rudolfensis and H. habilis should be considered early varieties of H. erectus. The Dutch anatomist Eugène Dubois, inspired by Darwin's theory of evolution as it applied to humanity, set out in 1886 for Asia to find a human ancestor. In 1891–92, his team discovered first a tooth a skullcap, a femur of a human fossil on the island of Java, Dutch East Indies. Excavated from the bank of the Solo River at Trinil, in East Java, he first allocated the material to a genus of fossil chimpanzees as Anthropopithecus erectus the following year assigned his species to a new genus as Pithecanthropus erectus —from the Greek πίθηκος and ἄνθρωπος —based on the proposal that the femur suggested that the creature had been bipedal, like Homo sapiens.
Dubois' 1891 find was the first fossil of a Homo-species found as result of a directed expedition and search. The Java fossil from Indonesia aroused much public interest, it was dubbed by the popular press as Java Man. Most of the spectacular discoveries of H. erectus next took place at the Zhoukoudian Project, now known as the Peking Man site, in Zhoukoudian, China. This site was first discovered by Johan Gunnar Andersson in 1921 and was first excavated in 1921, produced two human teeth. Davidson Black's initial description of a lower molar as belonging to a unknown species prompted publicized interest. Extensive excavations followed, which altogether uncovered 200 human fossils from more than 40 individuals including five nearly complete skullcaps. Franz Weidenreich provided much of the detailed description of this material in several monographs published in the journal Palaeontologica Sinica. Nearly all of the original specimens were lost during World War II. Similarities between Java Man and Peking Man led Ernst Mayr to rename both Homo erectus in 1950.
Throughout much of the 20th century, anthropologists debated the role of H. erectus in human evolution. Early in the century, due in part to the discoveries at Java and Zhoukoudian, the belief that modern humans first evolved in Asia was accepted. A few naturalists—Charles Darwin most prominent among them—theorized that humans' earliest ancestors were African: Darwin pointed out that chimpanzees and gorillas, humans' closest relatives and exist only in Africa; the derivation of the genus Homo from Australopithecina took place in East Africa after 3 million years ago. The inclusion of species dated to just before 2 million years ago, Homo habilis and Homo rudolfensis, into Homo is somewhat contentious; as H. habilis appears to have coexisted with H. ergaster/erectus for a substantial period after 2 Mya, it has been proposed that ergaster may not be directly derived from habilis. Homo erectus emerged about 2 million years ago. Fossils dated close to 1.8 million years ago have been found both in