Biology and You

Being Human

How did humans evolve?

Evolution of the Homo lineage of modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) is a highly debated subject, mainly because so few fossil remains exist that it is difficult to come to a definite conclusion. But suggestions abound: For example, several researchers propose that modern humans originated from a hunter of nearly 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall, Homo habilis, who may have evolved from an australopithecine ancestor. Near the beginning of the Pleistocene about two million years ago, Homo habilis is thought to have evolved into Homo erectus (Java Man), who used fire and possessed culture. Middle Pleistocene populations of Homo erectus are said to show steady evolution toward the anatomy of Homo sapiens (Neanderthals, Cro-Magnons, and modern humans), 120,000 to 40,000 years ago and were known to build huts and make clothing. Of course, all this is still speculation, and many scientists would disagree with each lineage described above.


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