Human Evolution

Human evolution refers to the evolutionary process leading up to the appearance of modern humans. While it began with the last common ancestor of all life, the topic usually only covers the evolutionary history of primates, in particular the genus Homo, and the emergence of Homo sapiens as a distinct species of hominids (or "great apes"). The study of human evolution involves many scientific disciplines, including physical anthropology, primatology, archaeology, linguistics, embryology and genetics.

According to genetic studies, primates diverged from other mammals about 85 million years ago in the Late Cretaceous period, and the earliest fossils appear in the Paleocene, around 55 million years ago. The family Hominidae diverged from the Hylobatidae (Gibbon) family 15-20 million years ago, and around 14 million years ago, the Ponginae (orangutans), diverged from the Hominidae family. Bipedalism is the basic adaption of the Hominin line, and the earliest bipedal Hominin is considered to be either Sahelanthropus or Orrorin, with Ardipithecus, a full bipedal, coming somewhat later. The gorilla and chimpanzee diverged around the same time, about 4-6 million years ago, and either Sahelanthropus or Orrorin may be our last shared ancestor with them. The early bipedals eventually evolved into the Australopithecines and later the genus Homo.

The earliest documented members of the genus Homo are Homo habilis which evolved around 2.3 million years ago. Homo habilis is the first species for which we have positive evidence of use of stone tools. The brains of these early homininas were about the same size as that of a chimpanzee. During the next million years a process of encephalization began, and with the arrival of Homo erectus in the fossil record, cranial capacity had doubled to 850cc. Homo erectus and Homo ergaster were the first of the hominina to leave Africa, and these species spread through Africa, Asia, and Europe between 1.3 to 1.8 million years ago. It is believed that these species were the first to use fire and complex tools. According to the Recent African Ancestry theory, modern humans evolved in Africa possibly from Homo heidelbergensis and migrated out of the continent some 50,000 to 100,000 years ago, replacing local populations of Homo erectus and Homo neanderthalensis.

Archaic Homo sapiens, the forerunner of anatomically modern humans, evolved between 400,000 and 250,000 years ago. Recent DNA evidence suggests that several haplotypes of Neanderthal origin are present among all non-African populations, and Neanderthals and other hominids, such as Denisova hominin may have contributed up to 6% of their genome to present-day humans. Anatomically modern humans evolved from archaic Homo sapiens in the Middle Paleolithic, about 200,000 years ago. The transition to behavioral modernity with the development of symbolic culture, language, and specialized lithic technology happened around 50,000 years ago according to many anthropologists although some suggest a gradual change in behavior over a longer time span.

Read more about Human EvolutionAnatomical Changes, Evidence, Before Homo, Genus Homo, Use of Tools, Transition To Behavioral Modernity, Recent and Current Human Evolution, Species List

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Cosmic Calendar - The Cosmic Year - Human Evolution
... Apes 31 Dec, 15 ... hominids 31 Dec, 2224 2.5 primitive humans and stone tools 31 Dec, 2344 0.4 Domestication of fire 31 Dec, 2352 0.2 Anatomically modern humans 31 Dec, 2355 0.11 ...
Sexual Selection In Human Evolution - Controversies
... The role of sexual selection in human evolution has been considered controversial from the moment of publication of Darwin's book on sexual selection (1871) ... Darwin was accused of looking to the evolution of early human ancestors through the moral codes of the 19th century Victorian society ... citing many elements of sexual behavior in animals and humans, that cannot be explained by the sexual-selection model, suggested that the function of sex in human ...
Chris Stringer - Publications - Books
1981), Aspects of human evolution Symposium on human evolution, January 1980, London Taylor Francis, ISBN 0-85066-209-5 Stringer, Chris (1986), "The credibility of Homo ... Andrews (eds), Major topics in primate and human evolution, p ... (1989), "Neandertals, their contemporaries and modern human origins", in Giacomo Giacobini, Hominidae Proceedings of the 2nd International Congress of Human Paleontology ...
March Of Progress
... A compressed presentation of 25 million years of human evolution, it depicts 15 human evolutionary forebears lined up as if marching in a parade from left ... sapiens? Beginning at right and progressing across four more pages are milestones of primate and human evolution as scientists know them today, pieced together from the fragmentary fossil evidence ... Scientists have noted that early human evolution did not progress in any linear, sequential fashion nor did it move along a "road" toward any predetermined "ideal form" they have faulted the image with being ...

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