The most primitive hominid yet found, this species has more chimpanzee-like features than
any other human ancestor. Ardipithecus ramidus may have walked upright. Other fossils
discovered with A. ramidus suggest that the species lived in the forest.
first fossils found 1992
4.2 - 3.9 mya
Exhibiting some chimp-like characteristics, A. anamensis' jaws are more primitive than
those of later hominids. And yet, its humerus (an arm bone) is quite human-like.
Characteristics of its tibia (a lower leg bone) indicate that A. anamensis walked on two
first fossil found 1965
3.5 - 2.9 mya
This species includes "Lucy," the 3.2 million year old fossil found by Donald
Johanson. A. afarensis' small braincases and relatively large teeth and chewing muscles
are similar to those of chimpanzees. However, their teeth, as well as their leg and pelvis
bones, exhibit human-like characteristics. They ranged in height from three and a half
feet to five feet and walked upright.
first fossils found 1973
3.0 - 2.4 mya
Although similar in many ways to A. afarensis, this species had a slightly larger brain
(but still only slightly larger than a chimp's brain), smaller canine teeth, and larger
molars. The wear of the teeth suggests that A. africanus ate fruits and foliage.
first fossils found 1924
2.1 - 1.6 mya
Believed to be roughly the same size as A. afarensis, A. robustus had a large,
"robust" (heavier, thicker) skull, as well as a jaw and large teeth that were
well adapted to chewing. Like some present-day apes, this species had a "sagittal
crest" (a ridge running from front to back on the top of the skull) from which
muscles running to the jaw were attached.
first fossil found 1938
2.3 - 1.1 mya
A. boisei is similar to A. robustus, except that its skull and teeth are even larger. Some
experts consider the two closely related, both branching from another species called A.
aethiopicus. Others believe A. robustus evolved from A. africanus. Like all of the other
Autralopithecus species, A. boisei walked upright.
first fossil found 1959
2.4 - 1.5 mya
Homo habilis, which actually means "handy man," is apparently the first species
to make and use primitive(see
or also see stone tools (see photo). About five feet tall and weighing 100 pounds, H.
habilis had a brain that was larger than the largest Autralopithecus brain, but smaller
than the Homo erectus brain.
first fossil found 1960
1.8 mya - 300,000 years ago
The first example of Homo erectus, known as "Java Man," was discovered in
Indonesia in 1893. Fossil remains of Homo erectus have since been found throughout Africa
and Asia, making it the first wide-ranging hominid. Despite the primitive appearance of
its skull, the erectus skeleton is very similar to that of modern humans, although more
robust (thicker and heavier). Homo erectus was probably the first hominid to use fire .
first fossil found in 1893
500,000 - 200,000 years ago
|Homo sapiens (archaic)
Also known as Homo heidelbergensis, this species has a brain that was larger than H.
erectus' and smaller than that of a modern human. The brain was enclosed in a skull that
was more rounded than H. erectus'. Fossil remains of archaic Homo sapiens have been found
in Africa and Europe.
first fossil found in 1921
230,000 - 30,000 years ago
|Homo sapiens neanderthalensis
Averaging five and a half feet in height and possessing short limbs, Neanderthals were
well-adapted to living in a cold climate. Attached to their robust (thick and heavy) bones
were powerful muscles. The Neanderthal's brain was larger than the brain of living humans,
although its shape was longer from front to back and not as rounded in the front.
first fossil found in 1856
120,000 years ago - present
|Homo sapiens (modern)
Modern Homo sapiens, also known as Homo sapiens sapiens, have been around for the past
120,000 years. Homo sapiens living about 40,000 years ago made elaborate tools out of
bone, antler,ivory,stone, and wood,and produced fine artwork in the form of carvings and cave
first "Cro-Magnon" specimens found in 1868
grotta:l'Uomo scopre l'arte e la coscienza della vita e della morte