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  • Millions of years before industry, agriculture, and civilization the world stage was set for one creature's unprecedented rise.

  • [Prehistory 101 {Human origins}.]

  • The story of humanity's evolution began about seven million years ago when the human lineage broke away from that of chimpanzees.

  • Over time, an ensemble cast of over 20 early humans species, or hominids, came to the fore.

  • Most became extinct while others might have been ancestors to today's humans.

  • Each species exhibited varying degrees of human-like physical and behavioral traits such as large brains, small teeth, bipedality, and tool use.

  • These hominins fell into three major groups:

  • Early hominins, australopithecines, and homo genus.

  • Humanity's earliest relatives lived between seven and 4.4 million years ago in Africa.

  • Having most recently shared a common ancestor with chimpanzees, they had many ape-like traits such as a small cranial capacity.

  • However fossils show that some ancient hominins were also beginning to show human-like characteristics, such as small canines that were likely used more for eating and not for hunting or fighting.

  • The next phase of hominid evolution involved primates called australopithecines.

  • They lived between 4.4 and 1.4 million years ago across the African continent.

  • Like their ancient brethren, australopithecines had some ape-like traits.

  • However, changes in the skull, spine and legs indicate a notable shift toward a very human-like trait:

  • Consistent bipedal locomotion.

  • The third and current phase of human evolution involves members of the genus homo.

  • The earliest homo species likely date to more than two million years ago, making them a contemporary of some australopithecines.

  • But unlike earlier hominins who exhibited a mosaic of ape and human-like traits, Homo species were becoming distinctly more human.

  • Their cranial capacity was growing larger than any other hominins.

  • They developed sophisticated stone tool technology, and they became the first to control fire.

  • These physical and behavioral adaptations, along with advancements in technology, allowed some homo species to be the first to migrate out of Africa and explore the rest of the world.

  • While a cast of over 20 hominin species have walked this Earth, only one remains.

  • Homo sapiens shaped by millions of years of evolution embarked on a journey of exploration and industry its ancestors could have only dreamed.

Millions of years before industry, agriculture, and civilization the world stage was set for one creature's unprecedented rise.

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Human Origins 101 | National Geographic

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    Elise Chuang 發佈於 2021 年 07 月 05 日
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