ORIGIN OF HUMANS – Humans origin ated in Africa. Our earliest known ancestors are called Australopithecus. Remains of the Australopithecines, have been found in fossils dating from about 2-4 million years ago at such sites as Laetoli in Tanzania and Hadar in Ethiopia. Analysis of skeletal material (of which the famous Lucy, discovered at Hadar, is an example), plus amazing footprints preserved in volcanic ash at Laetoli, shows that Australopithecus walked bipedally. Guess what was their height – about 3.8 feet – shorter than many eleven year olds of our times. How could such ape like creatures be called our ancestors? This is because among the animals of his kind humans alone walks on two feet. Other animals walk on all four. The bones of this ape like creature show that it walked on two feet. Except for their bipedal gait these Australopithecines probably looked a lot like modern chimps. It now appears that several different species of Australopithecines lived for a period of 2 million years or more in east and southern Africa. The diet of the Australopithecines consisted largely of gathered plant foods.

Experts do not agree as to which kind of Australopithecine was the ancestor of the next important fossil hominid, Homo habilis. The latter appeared around 2 million years ago in east and southern Africa. The brain of H. habilis showed a definite increase in size over Australopithecus. H. habilis made stone tools, some of which were undoubtedly used to butcher meat. They subsisted on plant food and meat, which they scavenged. H. habilis is considered ancestral to H. erectus, who appeared in Africa about 1.5 million years ago. In the next million years our ancestors moved out of Africa. Their remains have been found in China, Java and Europe. H. erectus showed a further increase in brain size and left evidence of more advanced tools, hunting of large animals, and use of fire. When our ancestors became non-vegetarians they tapped a new source of food energy. Animals like deer converted vegetation often not consumed by humans into meat.

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