This book discusses the latest comprehensive information about human evolution and is designed to be a reference and provide an overview of the topic and give the reader a structured knowledge to familiarize yourself with the topic at the ...
Author: Paul F. Kisak
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Human evolution is the evolutionary process that led to the emergence of anatomically modern humans. The topic typically focuses on the evolutionary history of the primates-in particular the genus Homo, and the emergence of Homo sapiens as a distinct species of the hominids (or "great apes")-rather than studying the earlier history that led to the primates. The study of human evolution involves many scientific disciplines, including physical anthropology, primatology, archaeology, paleontology, neurobiology, ethology, linguistics, evolutionary psychology, embryologyand genetics. Genetic studies show that primates diverged from other mammals about 85million years ago, in the Late Cretaceous period, and the earliest fossils appear in the Paleocene, around 55million years ago. Within the Hominoidea (apes) superfamily, the Hominidaefamily diverged from the Hylobatidae (gibbon) family some 15-20 million years ago; African great apes (subfamily Homininae) diverged fromorangutans (Ponginae) about 14million years ago; the Hominini tribe (humans, Australopithecines and other extinct biped genera, and chimpanzees) parted from the Gorillini tribe (gorillas) about 8 million years ago; and, in turn, the subtribes Hominina (humans and biped ancestors) and Panina (chimps) separated about 7.5 million years ago. The basic adaptation of the hominin line is bipedalism. The earliest bipedal hominin is considered to be either Sahelanthropus or Orrorin; alternatively, either Sahelanthropus or Orrorin may instead be the last shared ancestor between chimps and humans. Ardipithecus, a full biped, arose somewhat later, and the early bipeds eventually evolved into the australopithecines, and later into the genus Homo. The earliest documented representative of the genus Homo is Homo habilis, which evolved around 2.8 million years ago, and is arguably the earliest species for which there is positive evidence of the use of stone tools. The brains of these early hominins were about the same size as that of a chimpanzee, although it has been suggested that this was the time in which the human SRGAP2 gene doubled, producing a more rapid wiring of the frontal cortex. During the next million years a process of rapid encephalization occurred, and with the arrival of Homo erectus and Homo ergaster in the fossil record, cranial capacity had doubled to 850 cm3. (Such an increase in human brain size is equivalent to each generation having 125,000 more neurons than their parents.) It is believed that Homo erectus and Homo ergaster were the first to use fire and complex tools, and were the first of the hominin line to leave Africa, spreading throughout Africa, Asia, and Europe between 1.3 to 1.8 million years ago. According to the recent African origin of modern humans theory, modern humans evolved in Africa possibly from Homo heidelbergensis, Homo rhodesiensis or Homo antecessorand migrated out of the continent some 50,000 to 100,000 years ago, gradually replacing local populations of Homo erectus, Denisova hominins, Homo floresiensis and Homo neanderthalensis. Archaic Homo sapiens, the forerunner of anatomically modern humans, evolved in the Middle Paleolithic between 400,000 and 250,000 years ago. This book discusses the latest comprehensive information about human evolution and is designed to be a reference and provide an overview of the topic and give the reader a structured knowledge to familiarize yourself with the topic at the most affordable price possible. The accuracy and knowledge is of an international viewpoint as the edited articles represent the inputs of many knowledgeable individuals and some of the most current knowledge on the topic, based on the date of publication.