brain & skull chimp-like but thicker brow ridges and face flatter
Smaller canine teeth than chimp
Neck muscle attachment and foramen magnum position hint upright walking
Orrorin tugenensis 6 m.y.a. Very few fossils, may be bipedal related to Ardipithecus
Ardipithecus ramidus In the Afar language Ardi means "ground". 'Ramid' means 'root‘. Pithecus = ape
4 – 6 m.y.a. (“Ardi” 4.4 m.y.a.)
About 120 cm tall and 50 kg.
Ape-like upright walker – suggested by toe structure.
Feet well adapted to grasping, (big toe not in line with others) and able to climb trees. The structure of Ardi's feet, pelvis, legs and hands suggest that she was a biped on the ground, but a quadruped in the trees. Did NOT knuckle walk.
Chimp sized brain.
Teeth resemble modern human teeth more closely than they do those of a chimpanzee.
Lived in woodland conditions.
Australopithecines (“southern ape”)
Appeared over 4 m.y.a.
Fully bipedal, short broad hip, valgus angle of knee, arched foot, forward-directed big toe. Foramen magnum nearly central.
Hip girdle not as advanced as modern human – gait not as efficient.
Shoulder ape-like, finger & toe bones curved as in apes, long arms – probably arboreal?
Very thick jaw. Small incisors & canines. Large molar – like premolars, very large molars.
500 – 530 cc
1.2 – 1.4 m
40 – 80 kg
Very heavy, long arms, marked sexual dimorphism
Similar but more robust
Homo rudolfensis & H. habilis(Handy man)
H.r. (2.5 –1.6 m.y.a.). H.h. (2.1-1.5 m.y.a.)
550 – 750 cc ( H.r. Higher end of the range)
Oldowan (“pebble tools”)
East & South Africa
More rounded, bigger brain, smaller, narrower, longer face, narrower back teeth than A. afarensis (H.r.’s bigger). Thinner skull than later hominids. Brain may have been adapted for speech but throat not.
Post Cranial skeleton:
Similar to A. afarensis – long arms, curved hand bones (partly arboreal?)
Height 1 – 1.5 m range from small to robust.
Pelvis better adapted to bipedalism.
Ate a range of animals, fish , plants (H.r. More vegetarian. H.h. omnivore. )
Oldowan tools made from round lava rocks, one end chipped. Flakes also used.
Lived in bands, had home base.
Grew bigger brains, better communication, more cooperation. Young born immature to solve problem of smaller pelvis.
Homo erectus/ergaster (Erectus is Asian = Java man & Peking man)
1.7million to 200 000 years ago Early & African, type = H. ergaster 1.8 m.y.a.
Acheulian stone tools. E.g. large, teardrop shaped axe. Struck from a boulder then reworked all over.
Scalped skulls found suggest cannibalism.
First to use fire – advantages: warmth, extends day for toolmaking, scares away animals at night or drives them into bogs or over cliffs for hunting, hardens points of wooden spears, improves taste, digestion and hygiene when used to cook food, promotes socialisation.
Made stick and stone shelters.
First hominid to leave Africa.
Bigger brain – language?
Speech in Humans Speech is possible in humans because of adaptations to the throat and brain. Between 18 months to 14 years of age the human pharynx grows longer than in other mammals. Its muscles are able to vary its diameter to produce a greater range of sounds. Our tongue is thicker and goes further back and allows more vowel sounds to be made.
In the brain, Broca’s area helps string sounds into words. Wernike’s area analyses incoming sounds. Some researchers believe they can detect impressions of these areas in early hominid craniums
Broca’s area Wernike’s area
Homo floresiensis (95 000 – 13 000 years ago)
Discovered recently on Indonesian island of Flores. Have been nick-named “Hobbits”
Small (I m, 25 kg), brain 380cc (chimp size). More like H. erectus than us – thick brow ridges, sloping forehead, no chin. Used fire and complex stone tools
Archaic Homo sapiens = H. heidelbergensis
400 000 – 100 000 years ago
1100 – 1430 cc
Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East
big brow ridges,
face less protruding.
Teeth similar to modern man but arcade horseshoe shaped.
Post Cranial skeleton:
Human – robust
Similar to H erectus
Same as before. Ancestor to H. neanderthalensis
Homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthal man)
200 000 – 30 000 years ago
1200 – 1750 cc (average 1500 cc)
Europe to Western Asia
Long and low,
heavy brow ridges,
large cranial capacity,
large face & nose, no chin,
“occipital bun” at rear.
Teeth smaller than H. erectus.
Post Cranial skeleton:
Stocky and robust.
Strong bones, short, heavy limbs.
1.5 – 1.7 m tall.
Body like Eskimo to conserve heat.
Lived through ice ages. Often found in South-facing caves or shelters built of wood, tusks or skins. Used fur clothing.
Wide range of stone tools including spear points (spears were for thrusting not throwing) and bolas.
Good hunters – drove herds of animals off cliffs.
May have buried dead in foetal position, on side, knees up to chest, placed ochre, flowers and bones (food?) and horns in graves.
Took care of aged and crippled individuals.
Cannibalism evident at some sites.
Had vocal mechanism like ours – communicated well?
Related to ice age climate – became adapted to extreme environment.
What became of them?
Several theories exist.
Killed by modern humans
Interbred with humans (recent research shows all modern humans except Africans have a small % of Neanderthal DNA)