H. erectus existed between 1.8 million and 300,000 years ago. Like habilis, the face has protruding jaws with large molars, no chin, thick brow ridges, and a long low skull, with a brain size varying between 750 and 1225 cc. Early erectus specimens average about 900 cc, while late ones have an average of about 1100 cc (Leakey 1994). The skeleton is more robust than those of modern humans, implying greater strength. Body proportions vary; the Turkana Boy is tall and slender (though still extraordinarily strong), like modern humans from the same area, while the few limb bones found of Peking Man indicate a shorter, sturdier build. Study of the Turkana Boy skeleton indicates that erectus may have been more efficient at walking than modern humans, whose skeletons have had to adapt to allow for the birth of larger-brained infants (Willis 1989). Homo habilis and all the australopithecines are found only in Africa, but erectus was wide-ranging, and has been found in Africa, Asia, and Europe. There is evidence that erectus probably used fire, and their stone tools are more sophisticated than those of habilis.Homo sapiens (archaic) (also Homo heidelbergensis) Archaic forms of Homo sapiens first appear about 500,000 years ago. The term covers a diverse group of skulls which have features of both Homo erectus and modern humans. The brain size is larger than erectus and smaller than most modern humans, averaging about 1200 cc, and the skull is more rounded than in erectus. The skeleton and teeth are usually less robust than erectus, but more robust than modern humans. Many still have large brow ridges and receding foreheads and chins. There is no clear dividing line between late erectus and archaic sapiens, and many fossils between 500,000 and 200,000 years ago are difficult to classify as one or the other.
South Africa 2012
Dr Bartlett scratched his head for the seventh time in as many minutes as he peered over the shoulder of the archaeologist who was carefully cleaning the sand stone of debris and sand to reveal the footprint. It was the fourth one that they had found and, judging by the indentations in the rock before him there where at least a dozen more.
The first footprint had been found, as most great discoveries seem to, by a small boy tending to his flock of goats. One of his charges had wandered off and, as the boy had followed, he had literally stumbled over the imprint, which must have been uncovered, by the recent heavy rains. The boy had told the village elders about the strange footprint. Fortunately word of the footprint had reached his university and a small team, led by him, had been dispatched to investigate.
Dr Bartlett stood up from his bent position and stretched as he took in the arid landscape. Although hot, it was far from a desert. Lush grass and the occasional tree stretched out towards the horizon in a series of rolling hills. It had not always been so. The spot where he was standing had once been the bank of a twisting river. The climate had been wetter at the time these footprints had been made and most of the southern continent had been covered in dense jungle. Even the Sahara desert had once been a fertile grassy plain, with occasional woodland and this environment had supported a variety of Apes, many species were long dead. Climatic change had forced extinction on the less adaptable. These rich and fertile forests had given rise to a great variety of apes and hominids until eventually modern man was born.
Dr Bartletts’ thoughts had run a full circle and his eyes again returned to the footprints. They were definitely human. They would have stood about five foot six inches tall, judging by the length of the stride. From what had been uncovered so far, measuring the depth of the heel and distance between prints, the person who had made the prints had been running. They had also been carrying a heavy load. Perhaps retuning from a hunt. With the smell of a fresh kill would soon attract predators. Running with your prize to a more secure location, where you could properly butcher the carcase would make sense, especially if being pursued.
Dr Bartletts’ thoughts strayed again as he imagined the scene. The tribal hunter running with his prize draped over his shoulder. His simple spear held in one had as he ran to a safe place, or settlement, where members of the tribe using simple flint and bone tools could butcher the precious meat. This was a wonderful picture with only one small problem. The rock in which the footprints were formed was approximately half a million years old. At this time one might expect to see Homo Erectus. Homo Sapiens were just beginning to emerge, but the earliest traces of modern man found were dated at only one hundred and forty thousand years ago and these human footprints were at least three hundred and sixty years older than that. Dr Bartlett scratched his chin once more as he stared at the footprints once more.
South Africa 4,985,261 BC
The forest, one moment a constant cacophony with the sounds of the life, became suddenly still, as if the creatures became aware of some great storm approaching, which they had been unaware of until that moment. Pressure seemed to drop and the animals huddled into themselves awaiting the inevitable downpour. And then a great clap of thunder rocked the peace and quiet and a great wind tour at the branches of the trees and threatened to suck the animals from their homes.
The centre of the storm was situated three five foot above the forest floor. A gradually expanding hole seamed to be cut into the air. Widening and funnelling a great hurricane into itself as the pressure from two worlds attempted to equalize. Eventually, when the hole was wide enough a strange noise was heard amongst that of the howling gale. The forest creatures huddled tightly together as the hole grew to ten feet in diameter and a strange metal creature emerged into their world. It was roughly box like and held two creatures within itself. It glided clear of the hole before stopping. The hole then collapsed in on itself before disappearing completely and returning the forest to its previous calm.
Dr Jenny Patterson opened the door and got out of vehicle. Walking over to the spot where the time rift had collapsed, she took a small stone like device from her bum bag and placed it on the ground. As if by itself it began to bury itself into the earth. Satisfied she returned to the vehicle.
“Can you test the transmission Ash?”
Her assistant, Paula Ashcroft, passed her hand over the consol and a holographic display appeared on the vehicles dash board. It showed a detailed representation of the terrain, the centre of which showed the vehicle, as well as a bright red dot, just behind it. Above the dot were a series of numbers, indicating latitude and longitude. Below this a time reference had started to count down.
“The tracker is active. We will be able to find the rift when it returns in three months,” she stated as she passed her hand over the console again and the holograph collapsed back into the dash board.
Paula blinked as her nanites linked with the vehicles controls and, at the speed of thought, the craft lifted into the air and both occupants merged with the vehicles scanners in order to find a suitable place to set up camp.
At first glance, one would be mistaken for assuming that the two travellers were in their mid twenties. They were both remarkably pretty, Dr Patterson, the leader of the team, was a stunning five foot six natural red head, complete with freckles and clear green eyes. Ms Ashcroft, her assistant, was a very pale blond of fair complexion and pale blue eyes. Both appeared to be very athletic in build and whom the gods had blessed with classic hour glass figures.
The casual observer would have been very wrong in their estimates. Dr Patterson was, in fact, over two hundred and thirty, while her assistant was a modest one hundred and eighty years old. Their longevity being the result of the extensive Prolong treatments, common to fifty first century medicine. Also, their astounding beauty had little to do with the whims of genetics, or the favourable smile of a passing god. In fact, the nanites which enable fifty first century citizens to merge with machinery, communicate over distances, or experience entertainment, have also been re-sculpting and enhancing their natural bodies since they were born. Sometimes a little guidance was instilled into the programs by the Medicos, but usually, the sculpting was directed by the user, or by the nanites standard repair and improve capabilities.
As a consequence of this, both women were fit enough to compete in a twentieth century Olympic event. Their bodies could sustain long periods of duress. They could also repair minor damage quickly. In fact their musculature had been strengthened on a molecular level by nanites. In addition to all of this, their immune system had been enhanced to such a point that they could overcome most diseases with ease. They could also eat and process virtually any food. And since cell damage was instantly repaired by the self replicating machines, death was all but non existent on the fifty first century Earth.
Baal, which meant the lame one in the language, was unaware of all of this as he watched the two newcomers set up their camp from the safety of the shrubs in which he hid with his companion Ashur the grey. Last mating he had fought with Apsu for the right to breed. He had lost his claim and had suffered such damage to his leg that he had been expelled from the people, sent out to die or prosper without the tribes help. He had met Ashur shortly after. Ashur was too old to chase game and had been sent out to die. Ashur had decided to help Baal recover. In return for this help and using Ashurs greater knowledge, the two were able to prosper. Although they could no longer chase game, they could survive on grubs and set traps. Speed was no longer their ally, but they still possessed strength and cunning. Neither knew who these newcomers were, or what they were doing, but Baal was too cunning to rush into new situations like some young buck out to impress his elders. As if by some signal, both backed away from the edge of the clearing to consider and watch.
It had been two weeks since the women had arrived. They returned to camp with their latest prize, a small ape like creature, perhaps three foot in height. A forerunner of the chimp perhaps. She doubted that this was one of mans ancestors, since the skeletal structure, particularly the hips were more akin to knuckle shufflers, rather than true bipeds. Even so, they had proved to be very strong and, as Paula had discovered, carried a very nasty bite. As a consequence, as well as the collar and cuffs which were normally used to restrain the animals, so that they could be brought back to the camp and cages, Dr Ashcroft had used the fabricator to generate a head harness which would both prevent further painful bites. Their captive trudged along unhappily behind the two women, painful memories of being stung with a long stick acting as sufficient incentive to follow their lead.
Back at camp the subject was anaesthetised and placed into his storage box. Once he was hooked up to the life support machine, the box was sealed and labelled, ready for shipment back to the universities primate labs for study and classification. It had been a good hunt, but they still had not found their quarry, one of their reasons for coming, Homo Erectus, or even the rarer species of this period, Homo Sapien. Dr Patterson had written several journals on the species, based on probe data and the archaeological record. Consequently, she was the foremost authority on this period and was the natural choice to lead this mission once the University had secured funding for the timeslot into this period. Her assistant had been drawn from over five thousand applicants, but rather than choosing on academic basis alone, Paula had lead several expeditions into the Los Angeles Crater expanding the knowledge of third millennium American society. As well as these impressive credentials, Paula also possessed survival and Bush skills having grown up in the Southern Republic. A natural choice to assist in this expedition.
However well prepared both women thought they were, nothing could have acclimatized them to the heat of this place, even at night. After supper both women were grateful for the chance to slip out of the stuffy one pieces and crawl into the climate controlled sleeping bags. Today had been long and hard and tomorrow would be the same. Sleep, therefore, was quick in coming as the timenaughts crawled into their sacks for the night.
Baal and Ashur crept into the strangers camp. By now they knew the strangers habits and patterns. They also knew what their noses had told them on that first morning. These were females. Baal had missed the matings that he had participated in and these, while ugly, were still an outcasts prayer. They might also be the answer to another prayer, but that remained to be seen. From their hiding place, they had watched and noted and learnt. Now they would see.
Jenny awoke from her sleep as her companion screamed. Something heavy landed on her and large fingers groped at her sleeping bag.
“What the…. Lights. Security proto…Mphhh,” she gasped as the air was forced from her lungs as a powerful arm pounded her stomach.
At the same time the lights activated revealing a large, ape like creature. The creature that she had hoped to find, pinning her to the floor. Homo Erectus. The creature snapped a collar around her throat and then ripped her sleeping bag clean in half. Jenny screamed and then kept on screaming as the brute forced her legs apart and raped her. Although she possessed prodigious strength, the creature had more. He also had the advantage of leverage. Jenny could do nothing as the monster impaled her with the largest dick she had ever felt and began pumping in and out of her. She screamed again and again and again until, thankfully, she passed out.
When she came to it was light and she was outside. She tried to sit up, but found it difficult as her hands were secured behind her with the shackles. She was also wearing the head harness with the anti bite bit. Dazed she looked around the camp. Paula was sitting a few feet away and wearing similar restraints. Both the neck chains were secured by a large stake in the ground.
Something flew out of the vehicle as the two creatures searched for food. Finding nothing they eventually decided to leave, with their prizes. Jenny and Paula found themselves hauled onto their knees. The creatures then climbed onto the women’s backs and grabbed the collar chains. A quick pull soon released the stake and grabbing the improvised reins, Baal commanded his mount, who he would call Baalat, to move forward. Eventually, she got the message and headed off into the Jungle. Ashur bragged about his conquest and showed off the fine breasts of his beast as he urged her forward. This one he would call Epona. Ashur had not felt this good in years and would have Epona again tonight.
Urging his mount into a run, he hefted his spear onto his shoulder. Speed would again be his ally and he would hunt game again. Life was good.
A year later, Dr Ashcroft got her wish as she lay eyes on the first Homo Sapien. Birth control in the fifty first century consisted of your ninites talking to your partners. Baal did not posses Nan technology and now she knew her fate, as she looked at her new baby suckling at her breast and the look of pride on her partners face. This would be the first of many. She would spend the rest of her extremely long existence living as a brood mare for these creatures. Both she and her assistant would be the mother of an entirely new species.
Dr Bartlett looked at the ground and scratched his beard. He did not know how humans could have existed in this period. But one thing was for certain. History would have to be re-written and his name would be associated with this discovery.
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