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Homo erectus at Trinil on Java used shells for tool production and engraving

Overview of attention for article published in Nature, December 2014
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (99th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (97th percentile)

Mentioned by

57 news outlets
22 blogs
308 tweeters
282 Facebook pages
1 Wikipedia page
5 Google+ users

Readers on

183 Mendeley
2 CiteULike
Homo erectus at Trinil on Java used shells for tool production and engraving
Published in
Nature, December 2014
DOI 10.1038/nature13962
Pubmed ID

Josephine C. A. Joordens, Francesco d’Errico, Frank P. Wesselingh, Stephen Munro, John de Vos, Jakob Wallinga, Christina Ankjærgaard, Tony Reimann, Jan R. Wijbrans, Klaudia F. Kuiper, Herman J. Mücher, Hélène Coqueugniot, Vincent Prié, Ineke Joosten, Bertil van Os, Anne S. Schulp, Michel Panuel, Victoria van der Haas, Wim Lustenhouwer, John J. G. Reijmer, Wil Roebroeks, Joordens JC, d'Errico F, Wesselingh FP, Munro S, de Vos J, Wallinga J, Ankjærgaard C, Reimann T, Wijbrans JR, Kuiper KF, Mücher HJ, Coqueugniot H, Prié V, Joosten I, van Os B, Schulp AS, Panuel M, van der Haas V, Lustenhouwer W, Reijmer JJ, Roebroeks W


The manufacture of geometric engravings is generally interpreted as indicative of modern cognition and behaviour. Key questions in the debate on the origin of such behaviour are whether this innovation is restricted to Homo sapiens, and whether it has a uniquely African origin. Here we report on a fossil freshwater shell assemblage from the Hauptknochenschicht ('main bone layer') of Trinil (Java, Indonesia), the type locality of Homo erectus discovered by Eugène Dubois in 1891 (refs 2 and 3). In the Dubois collection (in the Naturalis museum, Leiden, The Netherlands) we found evidence for freshwater shellfish consumption by hominins, one unambiguous shell tool, and a shell with a geometric engraving. We dated sediment contained in the shells with (40)Ar/(39)Ar and luminescence dating methods, obtaining a maximum age of 0.54 ± 0.10 million years and a minimum age of 0.43 ± 0.05 million years. This implies that the Trinil Hauptknochenschicht is younger than previously estimated. Together, our data indicate that the engraving was made by Homo erectus, and that it is considerably older than the oldest geometric engravings described so far. Although it is at present not possible to assess the function or meaning of the engraved shell, this discovery suggests that engraving abstract patterns was in the realm of Asian Homo erectus cognition and neuromotor control.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 308 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 183 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Netherlands 7 4%
United Kingdom 6 3%
United States 4 2%
Canada 3 2%
Germany 1 <1%
Peru 1 <1%
France 1 <1%
Denmark 1 <1%
Brazil 1 <1%
Other 4 2%
Unknown 154 84%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Researcher 40 22%
Student > Ph. D. Student 38 21%
Professor 21 11%
Student > Master 21 11%
Student > Bachelor 20 11%
Other 43 23%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 40 22%
Arts and Humanities 37 20%
Social Sciences 28 15%
Earth and Planetary Sciences 24 13%
Unspecified 16 9%
Other 38 21%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 924. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 05 November 2017.
All research outputs
of 8,619,833 outputs
Outputs from Nature
of 48,769 outputs
Outputs of similar age
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Outputs of similar age from Nature
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Altmetric has tracked 8,619,833 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 99th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 48,769 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 75.9. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 98% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 241,598 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 883 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 97% of its contemporaries.