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§Hominini tribe evolution (the development of humans and their closest ancestors).

In the two million years preceding the Quarternary period, the most well known and most prominently featured hominini tribe animals were the australopithecines. Towards the end of the preceding Neogene a new hominid appeared called paranthropus. The current general view of paranthropus is that it evolved from australopithecines.

However it is also highly speculated that our own current human genus homo, also evolved from australopithecines at around the same time as paranthropus. This has opened up intense debate about where all of these ancient creatures fit into the protohuman family tree.

The one thing to be said of the paranthropus is that it is believed to have had a very large facial area, and not unlike that of a gorilla which suggests some form of convergent evolution. Convergent evolution is the development of similar physical aspects in completely different animals that have had to evolve to survive similar conditions. In context this means that due to paranthropus and gorilla living in similar conditions, some of their physical traits were shared despite them being completely unrelated at this particular juncture of evolutionary history. Due to this apparent distingishment from emerging homo species during the same period, it has been strongly suggested that paranthropus was a branched off line of hominini evolution which could be referred to as a “cousin” of early true humans.

Homo habilis has been popularised as a most likely first species of homo to appear on the earth, although there have been strong cases for homo rudolfensis and more recently homo gautengensis to have claims of being the first. Evidence suggests that homo habilis did not exist alone within the homo genus on planet Earth, more specifically the continent of Africa.

More recently, Homo naledi, which has not been dated at this time, but has been suggested to have lived around 2 million years ago +/- 500,000 years, has strong human traits. fossil skeletons were found in South Africa's Gauteng province, in the Rising Star Cave system, part of the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site. As of 10 September 2015, fossils of at least fifteen individuals, amounting to 1550 specimens, have been excavated from the cave.

The species is characterized by a body mass and stature similar to small-bodied human populations, a smaller endocranial volume similar to Australopithecus, and a skull shape similar to early Homo species. The skeletal anatomy presents ancestral features known from australopithecines with more recent features associated with later hominins.

Dental features make Australopithecus sediba " a candidate" for the ancestor of the Homo lineage, contingent on finding more complete fossils of other hominins. Australopithecus sediba shares features of both the earlier A. Africanus and H. Habilis. This presents a slightly different path of evolution Australopithecines to Homo. Previous paths relied heavily on the idea that A. Afarensis, not A. Africanus, was in our direct lineage.

Homo habilis is believed to have continued the Australopithecine mastery of Olduwan tools, (see “Australopithecines” section of the Neogene Period) although evidence suggests that homo habilis was vulnerable prey to big cats of the age such as the Dinofelis. Homo habilis is not considered to be too dramatically different to the later Australopithecines. It still had a very “ape like” look compared to more modern human species with its hairy appearance, disproportionately long arms and relatively small cranial cavity. Homo ergaster and homo erectus, which were among the next species to have evolved, have both been portrayed to look much more like modern humans. Quite what the exact ancestral linkage between habilis, ergaster and erectus and then in turn more modern homo species is still fiercely debated.

§Homo rudolfensis

In 2012 it was announced that fossils had been found supporting the fact homo rudolfensis was an individual species of human that lived in Africa, and believed to have lived alongside homo habilis and homo erectus in the east of the continent for a period starting around 2 million years ago.


  • 2.3 Ma Australopithecus boisei found at Omo, Ethiopia. (Oldest find for boisei)
  • 2 Ma - TM 1517 Paranthropus robustus found 1938 in South Africa by Gert Terblanche
  • 2 Ma and 1-8 Ma Australopithecus sediba, probably ate fruit and chewed bark from bark and food fragments found in the teeth and tartar. A. sediba has a mix of features - some archaic, some modern. Its small teeth, projecting nose, very advanced pelvis, and long legs throw forward to more modern forms. And yet its very long arms and small brain case might echo the much older Australopithecine group to which it was assigned.

Australopithecus sediba was found in 2010 in Malapa, South Africa, near Johannesburg.

  • Paranthropus boisei, dubbed “Nutcracker Man” because of its big strong jaws and large flat molar teeth, lived in East Africa between 2.4 million and 1.4 million years ago and lived mainly on a diet of edible grass bulbs called tiger nuts, along with assorted side dishes of fruit, grasshoppers, and worms.
  • 1.9 Ma - KNM ER 1813 Homo habilis found 1973 in Kenya by Kamoya Kimeu
  • 1.9 Ma - KNM ER 1470 Homo rudolfensis
  • 1.8 Ma to 1 Ma - Homo ergaster, ("Homo erectus") Homo erectus was named thusly because it is believed that he is the first hominoid to walk erect. Homo erectus was also the first hominid to resemble modern man in size and proportion.
  • About 1.6 Ma, Homo erectus constructed one of the first complex tools, the hand ax. Evidence exists that Homo erectus moved beyond Africa into Asia and Europe.
  • 1.2 MA - Australopithecus boisei, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Kenya in East Africa. (This is a younger find.)



Stone tools discovered at Chilhac (1968) and Lézignan-la-Cèbe in 2009 indicate that early man was present in France at least 2 million years ago.


1.2 Ma - In 2007 Spanish researchers said they had unearthed a human tooth more than one million years old, which they estimated to be the oldest human fossil remain ever discovered in western Europe.

1.1 Ma - In 2008 scientists reported fossils, found in a cave in northern Spain, of Homo antecessor, that dated to before this time.


Tools crafted by proto-humans that have been dated back two million years have been discovered in the northwestern part of the subcontinent.

§North America

2.1 million years ago the Yellowstone Super Volcano erupted and again 1.3 million years ago. The Island Park Caldera supereruption (2.1 million years ago), which produced the Huckleberry Ridge Tuff, was the largest and produced 2,500 times as much ash as the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption.

§Southeast Asia


Homo erectus, (Java Man) dating back 1.5 million years was found at the Sangiran early man site.


  • Wikipedia:Yellowstone_caldera
  • Wikipedia:Homo
  • Wikipedia:Homo_habilis
  • Wikipedia:Homo_naledi

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