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Homo habilis and homo erectus


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Human evolution is the lengthy process of change by which people originated from apelike ancestors. Scientific evidence shows that this process of evolution involves a series of natural changes that cause species (populations of different organisms) to arise, adapt to the environment, and become extinct.

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Homo habilis and homo erectus

  2. 2.  Name, which means ‘handy man  Dates between 2 and 1.7 m.y.a which is during the plio Pleistocene. It is the earliest species in the genus Homo  Fossils have been found in Tanzania, Ethiopia and South Africa  Though different from the Australopithecus, it also exhibits primitive traits.  Was bipedal with an adducted big toe (in line with other toes)  Fossil discoveries began in 1959 at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania by Leakey.
  3. 3.  Climates became cooler and drier and the environment changed which means feeding strategies had to change and some physical characteristics for survival  Lived in the savanna plains and the woodlands of south and east Africa 1.5 - 2.0 million years ago, often near lakes and rivers.  These hominids lived in a woodland habitat with access to water.  Mostly grassland and woodland environment
  4. 4. brain Relatively bigger brain around 680 cubic centimetres Skull Brain case had become fuller Beginning of a slight forehead appearing Face smaller and shorter than those of earlier ancestors The foramen magnum is repositioned farther underneath the skull
  5. 5. Jaws and teeth  Teeth were relatively smaller than the Australopithecus  Jaws smaller than those found in the earlier Australopithecus  Teeth arranged in a more rounded arc like in modern human Limbs and legs  Proportionately long arms and short legs relative to modern humans  Features of legs and foot bone indicate bipedal locomotion
  6. 6. They were mobile primarily wild plant food collectors and occasional scavengers of meat Capable of eating a broad range of foods including; leaves, animal tissues They were presumed tool makers
  7. 7. They created simple stone tools Some were made from perishable organic materials, eg wood
  8. 8.  Name:OH 7  Year of discovery: 1960, Jonathan Leakey  Site: Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania  Dates:1.75mya  Specimen: complete juvenile with teeth
  9. 9.  Name: OH 62  Year of discovery:1968, Tim White  Site: Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania  Dates: 1.8 MYA  Specimen: partially complete adult skeleton
  10. 10.  Also known as the upright man from the Latin meaning, "to put up, set upright  Around 1.6-1.8 m.y.a  The homo erectus is the first species to migrate out of Africa and appears almost everywhere around the world West Asia East Asia  the first human ancestor to have similar limb and torso proportions to those seen in modern humans  Its cranium was different from that of its evolutionary ancestor-Homo habilis.  It was the first human ancestor to rely on the invented, learned and passed-down adaptations of culture for survival, e.g. ability to control fire  the body (known only from the Chinese specimens) tended to be shorter and stockier than those of modern humans
  11. 11. SKULL  An increase in brain size to about 990 ccm  face was large with a low, sloping forehead, a massive brow ridge and a broad, flat nose  bones of the skull were very thick and formed a small central ridge, known as a midline keel, along the top of the skull  skull was broad and long with sharp angles at the rear, unlike the curve found in modern humans JAW AND TEETH  jaw was large and thick without a pointed chin  molar teeth had large roots but were decreasing toward a more modern size LIMBS  limbs were like those of modern humans although the bones were thicker, suggesting a physically demanding lifestyle  Shortening of bones and change in body structure  Elongated legs and shorter arms  Height 180cm for males and 160 for females  Weight around 50kg for females and 60kg for male  Decrease in sexual dimorphism  Rapid post birth development
  12. 12. A reconstruction of a Homo erectus female (based on fossil ER 3733) by paleoartist John Gurche, part of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History’s Human Origins Program.
  13. 13.  Drastic climatic changes: three cold glacial periods with harsh, winter temperatures.  The cooling and drying that occurred in these glacial periods brought an expansion of open habitats, with grasslands  The plants found at the Trinil excavation site included grass (poaceae), ferns, ficus, and indigofera, which are typical of lowland rainforest
  14. 14.  Lived in open habitats and had to travel greater distances for food.  lived at the same time as Homo habilis and Homo rudolfensis and perhaps Neanderthals.  Hunting, scavenging and gathering wild plants  invention and use of new types of tools  division of labor and mutual provisioning in the group
  15. 15.  Acheulean industry after the site in France where it was first found (Saint Acheul).  Associated with the earliest hand axes Acheulean hand-axe( stone tool technology)  Made much more complex tools  Pointy and wide with flat base  Tools became more standardized  There was also a use of shell tools
  16. 16.  Name: Java man Anthropopithecus erectus, later renamed Pithecanthropus erectus  Year of discovery: 1891 and 1892  discovered by :Eugene DuBois  Site: Java, Indonesia  Dates:1.75mya  Specimen: tooth, skullcap, and a thighbone
  17. 17. tooth, skullcap, and a thighbone
  18. 18. Name : Turkana boy(Nariokotome Boy) Year of discovery : 1984 Discovered by: Kamoya Kimeu, a member of a team led by Richard Leakey Site : Nariokotome, Kenya Date : 1.6 million years ago Specimen : 40% complete skeleton Height: 5 feet 3 inches (1.6 meters) tall. Age : 7 years and 6 months to as old as 15 year Sex : male
  19. 19.  Pelvis shows he was male.  His second molars had erupted, but not his third (the wisdom teeth), indicating he was not an adult.  Cranial capacity at death was 880 cubic centimeters, but scientists estimate it would have reached 909 cubic centimeters if he had grown into adulthood.  His vertebrae, which form the spine, were diseased, causing a subtle curvature and probably slow movement.  long legs and narrow shoulders typical of humans who live in hot, dry climate today. These long legs helped Homo erectus walk and possibly run long distances.
  20. 20. Beginning of the genus homo Bipedalism Brain capacity Adaptation
  21. 21.  Dorey, F., 2013. Homo habilis. Sydney: Autralian Museum.  Evans, L., 1999. Nature`s Holism. United States of America: Excell Press.  Hall, B. E., 2002. Encyclopedia. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 27 March 2015].  O`connel, J. F., Hawkes, K. & Jones, N. G., 1999. Grandmothering and the evolution of Home erectus. Journal of Human Evolution, Volume 36, pp. 461-485.  O'Neil, D., 1999. Palomar. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 2015 March 2015].  Renfrew, C. & Bahn, P., 2008. Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice. 6th ed. London: Thames & Hudson.  Scarre, C., 2009. The Human Past: World Prehistory and Development of Human Societies. High Holborn: Thames and Hudson.  Wood, B., 2014. Human evolution:fifty years after Homo habilis. International weekly journal of science, 508(7494), pp. 31-33.