Hi Amanda, I thought your question was pretty interesting. It is fascinating how Homo erectus and several other hominin species seemed to have lived far longer than us and several other accompanying species. I really enjoyed the breakdown in the Smithsonian article also. But I believe there are several things to note.

As mentioned in lecture, Homo erectus should be regarded for its variability. Many fossil sites of H. erectus show unique and separating morphologies. The Dmanisi fossils shows a remarkable difference from other fossil evidence in Java and looks nothing like Homo ergaster (which many paleoanthropologists consider a subspecies category of H. erectus.) I would argue that with how limiting fossil evidence is, it might even be possible that these fossil findings are indeed separate species as other paleoanthropologists conclude.

Another thing to note is how variable we humans are. In the grand scheme, even though H. erectus did have many traits that could be considered primitive, it was similar enough to humans when compared to other species of primates, mammals, and animals entirely. We shouldn’t assume things, but with how adaptable humans are, it seems plausible that H. erectus had similar traits which would allow them to adapt to remarkable climates.