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Human Origins

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Edward Primi

on 16 January 2017

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Transcript of Human Origins

Hominin Evolution
Hominin Evolution
Out of Africa - Recent African Origin - Hypothesis:
Ancient humans evolved exclusively then
Migrated out in 2 separate waves.
1. H. erectus – 2mya - Eurasia
2. H. sapiens – 60,000 ya – outcompeted and replaced other groups
Hominin Evolution
First Theories of Human Evolution

Charles Darwin (1809 -1882)
Studied on the Galapagos islands
Found that within each group of
plant or animal there was variation
Natural Selection:
Animals and plants adapt
to their environment to
survive and produce similar
offspring. Survival of the

Charles Darwin
On the Origin of Species (1859) Descent of Man (1871)
First to link biological diversity to evolution
Species were
forced to evolve or face extinction
when circumstances required it.
Species that were
able to evolve/adapt survived.
Over centuries of adaptation, species passed on survival traits.
Those better adapted to the environment survive and reproduce.
Eg., Giraffes born with gene for longer neck = more successful.
He wrote about human evolution before human fossil evidence was ever discovered

First Theories of Human Evolution

Paranthropus Group
Paranthropas boisei (2.1-1.2 mya)
Large teeth, robust features

Paranthropas robustus (2.1-1.6 mya)
Similar to P. boisei and A. afarensis

This group likely died off and did not ‘lead’ to
Homo group
First Theories of Human Evolution

Jacques Boucher de Crevecoeur (1788 – 1868)
Found stones shaped into tools and weapons
Primitive weapons less advanced than what can be created today
Shows evolution

There have been at least a dozen different species of hominins over the last five million years or so.

OUR DNA is 98% similar to the DNA of chimps.

Hominid – the group consisting of all modern and extinct Great Apes (that is, modern humans, chimpanzees, gorillas and orang-utans plus all their immediate ancestors).

Hominin – the group consisting of modern humans, extinct human species and all our immediate ancestors (including members of the genera Homo, Australopithecus, Paranthropus and Ardipithecus).
Hominin Evolution

Hominin Evolution

Hominin Evolution

Ardipithecus Group

Sahelanthropus tchadensis (7-6 mya)
West Africa
Apelike and humanlike features
Maybe bipedal
Ardipithecus Group

Orrorin tugenensis (6.2-5.8 mya)
Size of chimp
Climbed trees and bipedal
Ardipithecus Group

Ardipithecus ramidus (4.4 mya)
Chimp like features
Lived in forest - climbed trees and bipedal
Ardipithecus Group

Evolutionary Leap -
Hominin Evolution

Australopithecine Group

Australopithecus anamensis (4.2-3.9 mya)
Bipedal – spent less time in trees
Australopithecine Group

Australopithecus afarensis (3.85-2.95 mya)
Longest lived early pre-homo; Found in East Africa
Diet – soft fruit, nuts, seeds, tubers, eggs
Brain size 35% of modern brain.
Human-like teeth, leg and pelvic bones; but chimplike
“Lucy” – discovered by Donald Johanson
3.5 to over 5ft tall and walked upright
Laetoli footprints – monogamy
Australopithecine Group

Australopithecus africanus (3.3-2.1 mya)
Very similar to A. afarensis
Large brain, smaller canines and larger molars
- ate fruit and leaves
"Taung Child"
Australopithecine Group

Evolutionary Leap
Variety of Food
Australopithecine Group

Australopithecus sediba (2 mya)
Recently Discovered
Climbed trees and bipedal

Hominin Evolution

Hominin Evolution

Homo Group

Evolutionary Leap
Hunting and Gathering
Homo Group

Homo habilis (2.4 - 1.4 mya)
Fossils found in southern and eastern Africa
Brain = 47% human size. 3 ft to just over 4 ft tall
Used simple bone and stone tools
Nicknamed "handy man"
Homo Group

Homo ergaster (1.8 - 1.3 mya)
African H. erectus
Direct descendant to H. heidelbergensis, H. neanderthalensis, and Us
Used more sophisticated tools than H. habilis
May have been first to use "human" voice
Homo Group
Homo erectus (1.8 mya to 70000 ya)
First human ancestor to walk fully upright
First to leave Africa – E. and W. Asia
Brain = 74% human size. 5ft – 6ft
Some made complex stone tools
Began using fire. Ate large quantities of meat
Example – “Peking Man”
Descendants were humans and neanderthals
** Most important decendant
Homo Group

Homo floresiensis (94000 to 13000 ya)
Nicknamed "the Hobbit" due to its dwarfed nature
Discovered in Indonesia in 2003
Small brains and small bodies
Much controversy - some scientists believe they are mere H. sapiens that are diseased
Homo Group

Homo heidelbergensis (700,000 – 200,000 ya)
Europe, Africa, maybe China
Brain = 93% human size. Same height as us
Used fire, large spears, hunted large animals
Built simple shelters

Homo Group

Homo sapiens neanderthalensis (200,000 – 28,000 ya)
“Neanderthal Man” – our closest extinct relative
Europe and Asia
Large robust bodies – deal with cold
12% larger brains
Sophisticated tools. Controlled fire
hunted large animals. Ate mostly meat
Made ornamental objects – may have buried dead
Likely killed off and/or interbred with modern homo
** Very intelligent.
Homo Group

Homo denisovans (? to 40000 ya)
Siberia to S. E. Asia
Scientists found tooth and toe bone
DNA shows that Denisovans, Neanderthals and modern humans last shared a common ancestor 1 mya, and there was large amounts of interbreeding.
Hominin Evolution

Homo Group... US

Homo sapiens sapiens (200,000 ya to present)
Latin for ‘wise man’
Only surviving species of ‘homo’
Generalized diet
Reached full behaviour modernity around
50,000 ya
Killed off / outcompeted all other Homo
Hominin Evolution
Multiregional Hypothesis:
Early humans started to leave Africa around 2 million years ago.
Interbred and exchanged genes slowly evolving into modern humans simultaneously in several places.
In simple terms, humanity has followed one continuous evolutionary line rather than stemming from the replacement of existing groups by H. sapiens.


Most genetic evidence appears to back the Out of Africa hypothesis.
Little variation in the mitochondrial DNA (mDNA) of different people today, which suggest that humans evolved recently from a small ancestral population.
In fact, every human may all be descended from a single African woman - dubbed Mitochondrial Eve who lived within the last 200,000 years.
In addition, male Y-chromosome DNA hints at a single male progenitor.
Some experts believe that the entire population of Europe may have originated from fewer than 50 people.
Students say he looks
like Chris Brown!
Homo Group

Homo naledi (??? mya)
Fossils found in cave in South Africa
Shared Homo and Australopithicine features
Full transcript