<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >
The photo shows a skull that looks similar to a human skull but has prominent brow ridges.
Homo erectus had a prominent brow and a nose that pointed downward rather than forward.

Humans: Homo sapiens

A number of species, sometimes called archaic Homo sapiens , apparently evolved from H . erectus starting about 500,000 years ago. These species include Homo heidelbergensis , Homo rhodesiensis , and Homo neanderthalensis . These archaic H . sapiens had a brain size similar to that of modern humans, averaging 1,200–1,400 cubic centimeters. They differed from modern humans by having a thick skull, a prominent brow ridge, and a receding chin. Some of these species survived until 30,000–10,000 years ago, overlapping with modern humans ( [link] ).

The illustration shows a very human looking Neanderthal wearing fur and cutting a hide with a stone tool.
The Homo neanderthalensis used tools and may have worn clothing.

There is considerable debate about the origins of anatomically modern humans or Homo sapiens sapiens    . As discussed earlier, H . erectus migrated out of Africa and into Asia and Europe in the first major wave of migration about 1.5 million years ago. It is thought that modern humans arose in Africa from H . erectus and migrated out of Africa about 100,000 years ago in a second major migration wave. Then, modern humans replaced H . erectus species that had migrated into Asia and Europe in the first wave.

This evolutionary timeline is supported by molecular evidence. One approach to studying the origins of modern humans is to examine mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from populations around the world. Because a fetus develops from an egg containing its mother’s mitochondria (which have their own, non-nuclear DNA), mtDNA is passed entirely through the maternal line. Mutations in mtDNA can now be used to estimate the timeline of genetic divergence. The resulting evidence suggests that all modern humans have mtDNA inherited from a common ancestor that lived in Africa about 160,000 years ago. Another approach to the molecular understanding of human evolution is to examine the Y chromosome, which is passed from father to son. This evidence suggests that all men today inherited a Y chromosome from a male that lived in Africa about 140,000 years ago.

Section summary

All primate species possess adaptations for climbing trees, as they all probably descended from tree-dwellers, although not all species are arboreal. Other characteristics of primates are brains that are larger than those of other mammals, claws that have been modified into flattened nails, typically only one young per pregnancy, stereoscopic vision, and a trend toward holding the body upright. Primates are divided into two groups: prosimians and anthropoids. Monkeys evolved from prosimians during the Oligocene Epoch. Apes evolved from catarrhines in Africa during the Miocene Epoch. Apes are divided into the lesser apes and the greater apes. Hominins include those groups that gave rise to our species, such as Australopithecus and H . erectus , and those groups that can be considered “cousins” of humans, such as Neanderthals. Fossil evidence shows that hominins at the time of Australopithecus were walking upright, the first evidence of bipedal hominins. A number of species, sometimes called archaic H . sapiens , evolved from H . erectus approximately 500,000 years ago. There is considerable debate about the origins of anatomically modern humans or H . sapiens sapiens .

Questions & Answers

what if cranium break
Alimamy Reply
what are prokaryotes
Jacob Reply
Prokaryotes are cells with well defined nucleus or cells with membranes example; Bacteria,Nostoc etc.
Emmanuel
what is bilateral symmetry
Mameibi Reply
Explain kingdom of fungi
HARUNA Reply
what are the nutritional requirement of organism
Patience Reply
which part of the alimentary canal were these cross section taken
Getrude Reply
what is alimentary canal were these cross section taken
Getrude
what is matter
Gifty Reply
from which part of the alimentary canal were these cross section taken fig 2.1 fig 2.2 b,c
Getrude Reply
explain the role played by b in the alimentary canal
Getrude
what is biology
Sunday Reply
what is mitosis
David Reply
structure of a kidney
Idriss Reply
explain sexual reproduction of a named flower taking account of pollination, fertilization and the change to seed and fruit.
Chinyi Reply
The study of all life or living matterThe living organisms of a particular region.
Oyewale Reply
what is ology
Green Reply
in which of the following stages of the cell cycle are chromosomes pulled apart to opposite poles of the cell
Amie Reply
Anaphase
Jonah

Get Jobilize Job Search Mobile App in your pocket Now!

Get it on Google Play Download on the App Store Now




Source:  OpenStax, Biology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 29, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11448/1.10
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Biology' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask