History of evolution began 6 million years ago. Specifically, the study of hominids was extensive because it focused on genus Homo. Hominids had anatomy, which enabled them to walk as well as stand on two feet. The earliest reconstruction of genus Homo was Lucy’s skeleton. It was fully bipedal with a small cranial capacity. Additionally, it was just over three feet tall.
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According to estimations, Lucy’s fossils dated 3.2 million years. Lucy’s fossils were discovered in Ethiopia. This paper will explore the development of early hominids between 6 and 1.9 million years ago. To achieve this, the paper will describe major human fossils and archaeological findings in this period (Matt, Smith & Brown, 2009).
Development of early hominids between 6 and 1.9 million years ago: Major human fossils and archaeological find in this era. History of humans can be traced to Pliocene and Pleistocene periods. The earliest discovery was Australopithecus afarensis, which was dated more than 4 million years ago. This was followed by the discovery of Australopithecus africanus that dated between 3 million and 4 million years ago.
The next fossils discovered were of Australopithecus robustus that dated between 2 million and 3 million years ago. It was after this period that genus Homo was discovered. Another fossil discovered was the Australopithecines dated between 2 million and 1.8 million years. Australopithecines had low forehead. The forehead projected face. It is also estimated that the fossil had a 400cc brain.
Genus Homo dated around 2 million years. It had a forehead, which projected face. Additionally, it had about 700 cc of brain. After this came the discovery of homo erectus and Homo sapiens that had high foreheads with relatively flat face. The two fossils had 8000c and 1000cc brains respectively (Fagan, 2009).
Several fossils have been linked with the hominid linage. These include “Orrorin tugenensis”, which dated 5.7 million years. The other fossil was “Ardipithecus Kadabba” which was estimated to date 5.6 million years. It should be noted that there has been debate on whether the two fossils were bipedal or not. Additionally, there have been debates on whether the two fossils were ancestor of both hominids and apes or not.
It should be noted that the link between the earliest fossil species and hominid lineage are yet to be determined. For instance, Australopithecus afarensis had over 100 fossil representations in Ethiopia, South Africa and Kenya. These were found in Northern Ethiopia, Lake Turkana (Kenya), Swartkrans (South Africa) and Kromdraai (South Africa). Genus Australopithecus was mainly discovered in the African continent.
This happened 4 million years ago. It is believed that they evolved from Eastern Africa the spread throughout the continent (Fagan, 2009). Archeologists believe that Australopithecus became extinct 2 million years ago. However, during their existence, they evolved in different forms. These include Australopithecus anamensis, Australopithecus afarensis, Australopithecus sediba, and Australopithecus africanus.
Nonetheless, the most predominant ones in Eastern Africa were Australopithecus afarensis and Australopithecus africanus. The later is estimated to have lived between 3.1 million and 2.0 million years. It was gracile or slender. It is widely believed, based on fossil remains, that Australopithecus africanus was more like humans than Australopithecus aferensis.
It had a skull that could allow for a big brain. It was found in South Africa in 1924, 1935, 1948, and 1992 in Taung, Sterkfontein, Makapansgat and Gladysvale respectively. On the other hand, Australopithecus aferensis is live approximately between 4 million and 2.9 million years ago. It was also slender, and thought to be loosely related to genus Homo. One of the fossils was Lucy, which was found by Donald Johanson (Fagan, 2009).
The earliest Homo lived between 2 million years and 1.9 million years. It was Homo habilis. Most archeologists have referred to Homo habilis as the possible ancestors to modern humans. Homo habilis is a latin word, which means handy man. The fossil was found with tools made of bones and stones. It was then named Homo habilis based on its tools.
It is necessary to note that the fossil Homo habilis was found in Tanzania, which is in East Africa. Findings from its skull indicated that its brain portions, which associated with speech, were enlarged. It is also believed that capability to speak must have influenced cooperation during hunting as well as beginning of culture. It is also believed that hunting and gathering gave little room for brain development since Homo habilis had heavily muscled jaws for grinding nuts and grain as well as eating raw meat (Mader, 2003).
Human evolution is believed to have begun with the separation of chimpanzees and humanoids from the same ancestor. This is estimated to have happened between 5 and 6 million years ago. Fossils in this period included Orrorin tugenensis and Ardipithecus Kadabba, which dated 5.7 million and 5.6 million years respectively.
Nonetheless, the most dominant fossils in this period were Australopithecus Africans and Australopithecus aferensis, which have been associated with genus Homo in many occasions. Additionally, this period cover Homo habilis. This specie utilized tools made from bones as well as stones.
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Fagan, B. (2009). People of the Earth: An Introduction to World Pre-History (13th ed.). London, England: Pearson.
Mader, S. (2003). Biology (8th ed.). New York City, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Matt, C., Smith, F., & Brown, K. (2009). The Human Lineage. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell..