Human Evolution: Early Radiations

Abstract

Fossil evidence suggests that African ancestors exclusively ancestral to modern humans (such as the genera Ardipithecus, Australopithecus and Paranthropus) had emerged by at least 4.5 million years ago, and subsequently diversified. Homo habilis and Homo rudolfensis are adaptively and cladistically closer to this early hominin radiation than they are to later Homo taxa.

Keywords: hominins; australopithecus; ardipithecus; paranthropus

Figure 1.

Summary of the distinguishing features of the best‐known early hominin species. Adapted from Wood BA (1992). In: Bunney S, Jones S, Martin RD and Pilbeam D (eds) The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Human Evolution, pp. 231–240. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

close

References

Asfaw B, White T, Lovejoy O et al. (1999) Australopithecus garhi: a new species of early hominoid from Ethiopia. Science 284: 629–635.

Brunet M, Beauvilain A, Coppens Y et al. (1996) Australopithecus bahrelghazali, une nouvelle espèce d'Hominide ancien de la région de Koyo Tovo (Tchad). Comptes Rendus de L'Academie des Sciences Paris 322: 907–913.

Johanson DC (1985) The most primitive Australopithecus. In: Tobias PV (ed.) Hominid Evolution: Past, Present and Future. New York: AR Liss.

Johanson DC, White TD and Coppens Y (1978) A new species of the genus Australopithecus (Primates: Hominidae) from the Pliocene of East Africa. Kirtlandia 28: 1–14.

Leakey MG, Feibel CS, McDougall I and Walker A (1995) New four‐million‐year‐old hominid species from Kanapoi and Allia Bay. Nature 376: 565–571.

Ruvolo M (1997) Genetic diversity in hominoid primates. Annual Review of Anthropology 26: 515–540.

White TD, Suwa G and Asfaw B (1994) Australopithecus ramidus, a new species of early hominid from Aramis, Ethiopia. Nature 371: 306–312.

Wood BA and Chamberlain AT (1987) The nature and affinities of the ‘robust’ australopithecines: a review. Journal of Human Evolution 16: 625–641.

Wood BA and Collard M (1999) The human genus. Science 284: 65–71.

Wood BA, Wood CW and Konigsberg LW (1994) Paranthropus boisei – an example of evolutionary stasis? American Journal of Physical Anthropology 95: 117–136.

Further Reading

Ciochon RL and Fleagle JG (1993) The Human Evolution Source Book. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice‐Hall.

Grine FE (1988) Evolutionary History of the ‘Robust’ Australopithecines. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.

Tattersall I (1998) Becoming Human: Evolution and Human Uniqueness. New York: Harcourt Brace.

Tobias PV (1991) Olduvai Gorge, vol. 4: The Skulls, Endocasts and Teeth of Homo habilis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wood BA (1991) Koobi Fora Research Project, vol. 4: Hominid Cranial Remains. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Contact Editor close
Submit a note to the editor about this article by filling in the form below.

* Required Field

How to Cite close
Wood, Bernard A(May 2001) Human Evolution: Early Radiations. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0001648]