Human Evolution II


What defines "hominid" in fossil record?

Big brain

Bipedal posture


Genus Australopithecus in Africa (~4 mya 1.2 mya)

Completely bipedal and "small-brained"

Several different species seen


Genus Homo first seen in Africa (from ~2.5 mya)

Taller, larger brain and smaller face

Used tools


Homo erectus first species to leave Africa


Evolution of bipedal posture


Evolution of big brain


The two most recent species of hominids

Homo neanderthalensis Neanderthal man

Homo sapiens modern man (from ~150,000 ya)


Cultural evolution has become very important for most humans today