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Origin and Evolution of Humans

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Origin and Evolution of Humans - Lesson Summary

It is baffling yet true that the original human ancestors looked like present-day gorillas and orangutans. From those primitive times, the human species has indeed come a long way. Scientists explain the origin of mankind in an evolutionary perspective. In fact, the theory of human evolution is being constantly updated and modified based on new discoveries in many fields such as anthropology, palaeontology and molecular biology. The scientists have grouped chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and human beings as four member-species of the hominidae family Let us trace the evolution of human beings through the ages. The fossil evidence of the Upper Miocene epoch of Cenozoic era show that around twenty five million to nine million years ago Dryopithecus a genus of ape, lived in Eastern Africa, Europe and Asia. The term Dryopithecus means the Oak Tree Ape, in Greek. It is representative of the early members of the ape lineage such as gorillas and chimpanzees. However, it lacked most of the specialised features found in present-day human beings and apes.
 
These fossils are that of Homo erectus, which had probably evolved from Homo habilis. Homo erectus lived around one point five million years ago. They were human beings of medium stature and walked upright. 
 
After Homo erectus, there were several stages that led to the evolution of Homo sapiens. Fossil evidence suggests that between one lakh to forty thousand years ago, Homo sapiens Neanderthalensis or Neanderthal Man with the brain size of fourteen hundred cubic centimetres lived in Europe, Northern Africa and Eastern and Central Asia. Neanderthal man was considered to be in direct line of ancestry of modern man, but they were wiped out by another primate, the Cro-Magnon man or Homo sapien fossilis about twenty five thousand years ago.
 
Man, chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and human beings are four member-species of the hominidae family. Dryopithecus was a genus of ape that lived in East Africa, Europe and Asia around twenty five to nine million years ago. Ramapithecus was a primate that lived between two million and fourteen million years ago. Australopithecines lived in the grasslands of East Africa around two million years ago. The first human-like being was Homo Habilis who lived in sub-Saharan Africa between two million and one point five million years ago. Homo erectus were human beings of medium stature who walked upright and flourished till about two lakh years ago. Neanderthal Man, with brain size of fourteen hundred cubic centimetres lived in Europe, Northern Africa and Eastern and Central Asia between one lakh and forty thousand years ago. The Neanderthal man was wiped out by the Cro-magnon man or Homo sapien fossilis about twenty five thousand years ago. Homo sapiens sapiens evolved between seventy five thousand and ten thousand years ago during the Ice Age.

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