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September 7, 2013

Essay on Evolution of Genus Homo

Evolution of Genus Homo
History has it that Tanzania, Ethiopia, South Africa had the fossils of the genus Homo come dated approximately 1.9 to 1.6 years ago.   The first fossil finds of this genus were of the species Homo habilis which were found in the lowest level of the Olduvai Gorge.  Louis Leakey made this discovery and his co-workers. The older specimens of the species had a strong similarity to Australopithecus africanus and the younger ones to show more in common with Homo erectus. Their development is somehow interrelated.
    The differences between Homo habilis and Australopithecus are:  homo habilis have a greater cranial capacity(610 to about 800cc), it has reduced prognathism- a flatter face and a shorter tooth row. Homo habilis has limbs still a reminder of apes in terms of their relative proportions.  It is believed , therefore,  that Homo habilis was still a very good climber.(Chan, 1999)
 Homo habilis is also said to possess a locomotion which is more of a human attribute
than that of  the australopithecines.  Researchers have also found some stone tools and severed animal bones associated with Homo habilis.  Brain specialists see in casts made from habilis skulls the bulge of Broca's area.  This bulge was not found in earlier hominids.  
The gigantic raise in brain size made by habilis would have given the species the advantage of stone tool-making.  Tool-making also leads to the advent of culture.  The best habilis material comes from Koobi Fora, on the east side of Lake Turkana in northern Kenya.

Chen, J. Y.; Huang, D. Y.; Li, C. W. (1999). Nature 402 (6761): 518


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