Genetics and Evolution

How did humans evolve?

Many rock fossils either erode before they can be discovered, or they remain in places inaccessible to scientists. The value of fossils comes not only from the information they give us about the structures of those once-living organisms, but the placement of common fossils in the geologic layers also gives researchers a method for dating other, lesser known, samples.

Evolution of the Homo lineage of modern humans (Homo sapiens) has been proposed to originate from a hunter of nearly 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall, Homo habilis, who is widely presumed to have evolved from an australopithecine ancestor. Near the beginning of the Pleistocene epoch (two million years ago), Homo habilis is thought to have transformed 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. Pre-modern Homo sapiens built huts and made clothing.


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