Archaelogical Finds of Early Humans
Evolution embodies the overall changes of one or more inherited traits found in
populations of different organisms over an extended period of time. Inherited traits
or distinguishing characteristics include anatomical, biochemical and behavioral
features that transferred over multi-generations. Evolution occurs when a variation
of inherited traits exists within a population. The primary reasons for these variations
stem from mutation, genetic recombination and gene flow. The process of evolution
has been identified with the end result of diversification of all living creatures
as described by Charles Darwin, the author of the "Origin of Species," a work of
scientific literature describing the process of evolutionary biology.
Darwin described two common causes of evolutionary biology: natural selection,
a process of differential survival and reproductive inherited traits, and genetic
drift, a process involving random changes proportionally to two or more inherited
traits within a population. The term "speciation" describes a single ancestral species
dividing into two or more different species. Scientists can observe the anatomical,
genetic and other reflections between different groups of organisms and the geographical
disbursement of interrelated species. The origin of speciation traces back over
three and a half billion years and occurs very slowly, steadily, gradually or rapidly
from one phase to the next.
Human evolution or anthropogeny describes the origin, evolution and speciation of
Homo sapiens from other hominids, great apes and mammals. The scientific study of
evolution embodies various disciplines, including physical anthropology, primatology,
archaeology, genetics and linguistics. The evolutionary cycle of the modern human
refers to the genus "Homo." However, studies often trace back human evolution through
other hominids, such as the Australopithecines, where the "Homo" genus emerged from
about 2.3 to 2.4 million years ago on the modern continent of Africa. Scientists
speculate that humans underwent a period of speciation along with the chimpanzees
roughly 5 to 7 million years ago.
7milion years ago-Sahelanthropus tchadensis: "Sahelanthropus tchadensis,"
one of the oldest known species on the human evolutionary tree, lived between 7
and 6 million years ago in the West-Central Africa region of modern-day Chad. Walking
erect may have helped this species to survive the diverse landscapes, including
forests and grasslands.
6 million years ago - Orrorin
tugenensis: "Orrorin tugenensis" dates back to approximately 6
million years ago in the Tungen hills of Western Kenya. "Orrorin tugenensis" translates
to "original man" in Tugen, the African spoken language in today's modern era.
5.5 million years ago - Australopithecus anamensis: Skeletal remains
uncovered the A. anamensis, which preserves the direct evidence of "bipedalism,"
which theoretically occurred earlier than 4 million years ago. The evidence shows
that the A. anamensis developed erect walking prior to disappearance in the woodlands
of East Africa.
years ago - Ardipithecus ramidus: The "Ardipithecus ramidus" has
distinguishing characteristics from other hominid species, including its larger
upper and lower canines that do not directly correlate with the post-canine teeth.
A. Ramidus is often regarded as the earliest specimen in hominid ancestry with origins
dating around 4.4 million years ago.
years ago - Bipedal hominid: The earliest hominid fossils found
in Ethiopia and Tanzania date a million years earlier and show signs of adaptation
to bipedalism and a dental pattern with apelike overbites.
3.6-3.8 million years ago - Australopithecus afarensis:
"A. afarensis" shared features with both apes and modern humans, which means other
hominid groups directly evolved from this species. The A. afarensis display a larger
size between each of them, and includes evidence of bipedalism as undiscovered by
3.5 million years ago - Kenyanthropus platyops: The "K.
platyops" with different characteristics from the A. afarensis warrants its classification
as separate genus with smaller, flat teeth and flat faces. It is believed that the
A. afarensis and K. platyops competed for various food sources.
million years ago - Australopithecus: "Au. africanus"
bore anatomical similarities in the apelike facial features of the "Au. afarensis."
The "Au. africanus" had a rounder cranium when compared to the "Au. africanus,"
which means it had a larger brain and smaller teeth.
3.2 million years
ago - Australopithecus bahrelghazali: This species is from the
same time period as the A. anamensis. It was recovered from Koro Toro in Chad, which
means it was the only australopithecus species from West Africa.
2.5 million years ago - Australopithecus africanus: The
translated scientific name of this hominid species means "southern ape-man from
Africa." It was first discovered by Dr. Raymond Dart in South Africa in 1920.
2.5 million years ago - Paranthropus aethiopicus: All species
of the genus "Paranthropus" were bipedal and lived during a time when the genus
"Homo" started to grow in number. Most species of Paranthropus had a brain size
about 40 percent the size of today's human.
2.5 million years ago - Homo Erectus: Homo erectus allegedly evolved
in Africa roughly 1.8 million years ago where it migrated first to Asia and
then to Europe before coming into extinction less than one half million years ago.
years ago - Paranthropus robustus: "Paranthropus robustus," an
example of robust austhralopithecine, had enormous, broad cheek teeth with rugged
enamel. This species focused their chewing at the back of the jaw.
years ago - Homo habilis: Richard Leakey discovered the first fossilized
remains of Homo habilis during the 1960s. H. habilis was a tool-making species,
according to the claims made by Leakey.
1.9 million years ago
- Homo rudolfensis or Homo habilis: The "H. rudolfensis" was originally
considered to be H. habilis because of its larger cranium, longer face and molars.
1.78-1.95 million years ago - Australopithecus sedib (PDF):
Recently discovered, the "A. sedib" species has a mixture of primitive and transitional
characteristics. A. sedib has more derived features from the genus Homo than any
other australopithecus. This discovery may reveal information about the origins
of the genus Homo.
1.8 million years
ago - Paranthropus boisei: P. boisei characterized by a specialized
skull has adaptations for arduous chewing. It has a strong crest down the middle
of the skull anchored to the large temporalis muscles.
years ago - Homo georgicus: This species was finally named in 2002
with all other fossils found in Dmanisi, Georgia. An intermediate phase between
H. habilis and H. erectus, it consisted of three partial skulls and lower jaws.
million years ago - Homo ergaster: The Homo erectus in the time
period spanning 1.75 million years ago transitioned into the Homo ergaster, a separate
species in Africa, while the Homo erectus was particularly found in Asia.
1.5 - 2 million years ago - Homo gautengensis: H. gautengensis
lived in the trees to elude predators, yet still walked on two feet while on the
ground. H. gautengensis stood 1 meter tall and weighed approximately 50 kgs.
1.6 million years ago -
Homo erectus or Homo ergaster: Homo erectus and Homo ergaster simultaneously
existed with Homo erectus living in South Asia and Homo ergaster living in Africa.
The Homo erectus adapted to new environmental opportunities, which allowed them
to migrate and develop new hunting skills, including the possibility to make fire.
780-858 thousand years ago - Homo antecessor or Homo erectus:
Homo antecessor, an extinct human species dating from around 1.2 million to 800,000
years ago, lived in Europe. The two fossils found of H. antecessor are from Sierra
de Atapuerca and Norfolk, England. Numerous human remains indicate that the
sites exhibit cuts where flesh was removed from the bones, which means that the
Homo antecessors ate each other.
400-500 thousand years ago - Homo erectus: Homo erectus
of 400-500 years ago were out of Africa. The cranium size ranged from 1000-1250
cc., which made them large brained. H. erectus created fire and the Acheulian, a
hand-ax made from a river cobble.
600 thousand years ago - Homo heidelbergenis: The remains of the
heidelbergenis species were first discovered in sand pit near Heidelberg, Germany
and date back to about 500 thousand years ago. The heidelbergenis was first disregarded
with skepticism because of its lack of partial teeth from within the skull.
thousand years ago - Homo heidelbergenis or Homo neanderthalensis:
This early human species had a large brow ride, large cranium and flatter face than
older human species. This was the first species of its kind to live in a cold climate
with short, wide bodies adapted to conserving heat.
years ago - Homo erectus or Homo rhodesienis: Homo rhodesiensis
or the Rhodesian man, a hominin species portrayed by the uncovered Kabw skull fossil,
have other morphological remains in southern Africa and East Africa.
thousand years ago - Homo heidelbergensis or Homo erectus: Recent
findings uncovered and suggest that the H. heiedlbergensis (Heidel Man) may have
been the first to bury their dead after offering gifts. Experts also speculate that
H. heidelbergensis acquired and spoke the first primitive form of language.
years ago - Homo heidelbergensis or Homo sapiens: The Arago 21
dates to the species transition between the Homo heidelbergensis or Homo sapiens
with physical features ranging in 1166 cc brain diameter, Broca's cap development,
right parietal association development, right-handedness, lacking frontal boss,
marked parietal boss, existence of an angular torus, low broad sagittal keel, a
deep suborbital sulcus, short face and widened maxilla.
190 thousand years ago - Homo sapiens: Homo sapiens populations
are known from the Middle East from about 100 thousand years ago and from east Asia
as long as 67 hundred thousand years ago, and from southern Australia as long as
60 thousand years ago. European Homo sapiens have origins over 35 thousand years
thousand years ago - Homo neanderthalensis (PDF): Homo neanderthalensis
had an occipital bun, suprainiac fossa, a mastoid crest behind the auditory meatus,
a juxtaposed crest behind the mastoid crest, proper position of the mastoid process,
suborbital torus and the supratoral sulcus, receding frontal and presence of the
thousand years ago - Homo sapiens: Homo sapiens in latin means
"wise man," are the main linkage to modern human begins. Homo sapiens are one of
the several species grouped into the genus "Homo," not yet extinct.
70 thousand years ago - Homo sapiens: Genetic evidence
suggests that Homo sapiens engaged in incestural relations between 80-50 thousand
years ago in the Middle East, which results in 1 to 4 percent of the Eurasian genome
having contribution from the Neanderthals.
60 thousand years ago - Homo sapiens: The remains of more than
400 Neanderthals have been uncovered with the most controversial excavation happening
in 1908, a skeleton that would have been considered an elderly gentleman by Neanderthal
60 to 40 thousand years ago - Homo sapiens: Migration led
Homo sapiens to Western Europe. About 40 thousand years ago, Homo sapiens began
dispersing Neanderthals who became extinct 30 thousand years ago.
40 thousand years
ago - Homo Neanderthalensis: Neanderthals looked pretty close to
modern humans with the exception of height since most were shorter, more heavily
built and much stronger, particularly in the arms and hands. The skulls of Neanderthals
show that they had no chin, plus their foreheads sloped backwards.
27 to 35 thousand years ago - Homo erectus: The ancestral links
of modern humans came about 1.5 million years ago with fossilized footprints emerging
years ago - Homo sapiens: Homo sapiens begin to trade with strangers.
16 to 18 thousand years ago - Homo sapiens: A divergence between
Homo Neadernthalensis and Homo sapiens occurred.
5.3 thousand years
ago - Homo sapiens: Human species continues to evolve by forming
1.5 thousand years
ago - Homo sapiens: Humans develop agricultural farming.
1000 thousand years ago - Homo sapiens:
Underlying theories of evolution affecting us in the last 1000 years.
500 years ago - Modern Humans: Human evolution still occurring
underneath our noses: cultural and national clashes, conquest, and technological
advances through intelligible studies.
100 years ago - Modern
Humans: Technological advancements leading to potential leap in
ago - Modern Humans: Modern humans advance to mapping the human