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Human Evolution
study of humans, their origins, their
races, their physical characteristics and their
- The study of ancient
humans and human-like
creatures using fossils.
Characteristics of human fossils
Since it is difficult to determine what fossils are considered
human, scientists have come up with 5 characteristics.
1. Bipedalism or
walking upright on 2
feet. This is
determined by the
shape of the pelvis
2. Brain size must
be similar. In
order to find brain
size you must
measure the skull.
sapiens have a
large brain.
3. Teeth
and jaws in
human are
have large
teeth and
and the
jaw itself
is a
rounded U
Apes have
small front
molars and
V shaped
4. Use of tools is another indication of humans. In order to use a
tool one must have an opposable thumb. There are other animals
that have opposable thumbs but in humans it is highly developed.
5. Cultures indicated by what objects were found along with the
fossils. If they found small animal bones it can be inferred that
they ate meat. If they found large animal bones then it can be
inferred that these people could work together to hunt. If they
found charred bones it could be inferred that they had the use of
Phylogenetic Tree
 Indicates the probable pathway of evolution
Phylogenetic Tree of Humans
tree of
humans is a
very well
About 12 million years ago there is a fork in the tree where
scientists and anthropologists believe human-like animals(hominids)
separated from the apes.
Contrary to
popular belief,
scientists do not
believe that
human evolved
from apes but
that they had a
common ancestor
Common ancestor
For awhile many scientists believed that this common ancestor was
a human-like creature called Ramapithecus. Unfortunately because
the only fossils of this organism that can be found are jaw bones
and teeth, it can not be determined whether it is actually a human
An early ancestor of humans is a human-like creature called
Australopithecus afarenis. This was one of the first complete
skeleton fossil that was found.
The fossil
was believed
to be a
female. Its
pelvis was
believed to
be made for
upright. But
her brain was
only 400cm3
The next main character in the path of evolution is Homo habilis.
This name means handy man or tool user. This is the first group of
fossils that were found to be clearly human.
They existed about 2 million
years ago and were most likely
the first to use tools. They
have significantly larger brain
but it is still less than half the
size of current humans.
Next on the phylogenetic tree is Homo erectus. They existed
about 1.5 million years and their brain size is about 800cm3.
this time
man’s jaw
began to
be less V
and more
U shaped
The Neanderthals
• This is the
earliest group of
fossils to be
classified as
Homo Sapiens.
These people
appeared about
80,00years ago
and became
extinct about
40,000 years ago.
The Neanderthals were thought to be fairly intelligent, fully
bipedal and had strong muscles in the chest and arms. They had
the ability to use fire and tools.
Cro-Magnon Man
• It seems
that CroMagnon man
man coexisted
for a period
of time.
• These people
are modern in
Cro-Magnon Man
• Cro-Magnon man
was far more
advanced than
• They had the
ability to make
excellent tools,
animals and plant