Different theories have been developed concerning the history of humans on the earth's surface. There are two main theories that help explain the origin of human beings on the earth's surface. One theory is based on religion which states that humans and the universe are as a result of a divine creation. The theory states that humans were created by God who is believed to be a superpower being who existed before time. The other theory is commonly referred to as the evolution theory. A scientist by the name Charles Darwin is credited for this theory. Charles Darwin wrote a book entitled 'The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection' that tries to explain the different stages that humans underwent during evolution. According to the theory, human's existed as apes but have evolved through time through a process known as natural and artificial selection. Different factors such as climate change have been attributed to having caused the evolution.
To prove the credibility of the evolution theory, a lot of fossil remains of the species that existed millions of years ago have been found. The fossils remain of the species have been found by archeologists who were carrying out studies on remains of human beings since the stone-age era. Archeologists have used different methods in finding the remains and analyzing them to determine the period within which the remains existed. Archeologists have excavated the remains in a very careful procedure and whatever is found is photographed, documented and bagged for storage. The artifacts collected are further analyzed through carbon dating to determine the period of existence of the species and the information got recorded. By the help of the different methods, different species of human remains have been found to have existed. The early species are believed to be the ancestors of the modern man.
The oldest species of human beings that is believed to have existed was the australopithecines. These species are believed to have being in existence around 4.5 million years ago. The species were found at the African savannah at the Eastern side of the Rift Valley. The species were the first type of humans to live. There are different types of australopithecines that existed. One common type that was found in South Africa was referred to as Australopithecus Africans. The remains of Australopithecus Africans were named by a scientist named Raymond Dart. The species is the oldest to be found on African soil and the species is believed to have been practicing hunting. The fossils of these species were rescued from a quarry in South Africa and the fossils sent to Dart for analysis. The other type of australopithecines to be found in Africa was known as Australopithecus afarensis. The remains of this species were found in Ethiopia and the species is believed to have existed around 3.2 million years ago. Australopithecus anamensis is the other species and was found in Chad and the species is believed to have existed around 3.2 million years ago. The earliest australopithecines were bipeds but could easily climb trees. Even though the species of australopithecines have never been considered as human beings, they are connected to the evolution of humankind.
Homo habilis is considered to be more advanced species of the australopithecines type. The species of these type are believed to have existed between 2.5-2 million years ago. They are believed to have existed in the eastern and southern parts of Africa during the same period as the australopithecines. The species had bigger brains and smaller jaws than the australopithecines and were more advanced in their way of doing things. The remains of these species were found in countries like Kenya, South Africa, and Tanzania. Most of the remains of these species were found through the excavation of the caves that this type species lived. The first remains of these type of species were found in Tanzania at Olduvai Gorge by the team of Louis Leakey team. The remains of these species were subjected to further studies and it was found out that the remains were different from the australopithecines due to their large incisors, brain size, and the shape of their hands. The remains were named Homo habilis by Dart and the name was used to mean 'handy man'. The species is believed to be a direct ancestor of the current human beings.
This kind of species are believed to have existed in around 1.6 years ago. The word Homo erectus was given to the species to mean an upright man. These type of species was geographically widespread and their remains were found in different regions. The species is believed to be the earliest species to have qualities that are similar to that of the modern man. The species had a higher brain capacity and had stronger skull than their predecessors. These type of species was more civilized and its tools were more advanced. These type of species used to practice different activities such as pebble carving and stone chipping. One common type of remains of Homo erectus found in Asia in the year 1891 was referred to as Pithecanthropus fossils. The species had a bigger body size and smaller canines. There has been an ongoing debate about the ancestry, classification, and progeny of the Homo erectus species.
The change of species from Homo erectus to Homo sapiens was so slow such that some of the species of Homo sapiens were named modern erectus. The change of species from Homo erectus to Homo sapiens is believed to have taken place between 200,000 and 100,000 years ago. During this time, the earliest species of Homo sapiens had become extinct. The remains of the Homo sapiens species are believed to be the same as that of the modern man. These type of species are believed to have undergone most of their evolution in Africa. Just like the rest of the human species that existed before, Homo sapiens gathered and hunted food together. These type of species had a lighter weight and a higher brain capacity than that of Homo erectus. The skull of this type of species also changed into a thin-walled skull with a flat and a forehead that is almost vertical.
The remains of humans found in Palestine around 90,000 years ago of archaic Homo sapiens of the African origin can be used as evidence of the existence of the Homo sapiens sapiens species. Many Homo sapiens sapiens remains have been found in Europe and the remains can be traced back to the Upper Paleolithic. Homo sapiens sapiens is believed to have undergone great evolution around 35,000 years ago where it moved and settled in different continents of the earth's surface. The culture of the Homo sapiens sapiens is more advanced and civilized. The species were also able to make more advanced tools than the Homo erectus species. These species are believed to have practiced different activities such as rock painting and death rituals to the deceased. Evidence of the death rituals practiced by these species has been assembled after excavations of different sites found in Palestine.
Grine, F. E. (2017). Evolutionary history of the robust Australopithecines. Routledge.
Jelinek, J. (2016, June). European Homo erectus and the origin of Homo sapiens. In Current Argument on Early Man: Report from a Nobel Symposium (p. 137). Elsevier.
Nitti, G. T., & Strumia, A. (2002). Man, origin and nature | Inters.org. Retrieved from http://inters.org/origin-nature-of-man
Spoor, F., Gunz, P., Neubauer, S., Stelzer, S., Scott, N., Kwekason, A., & Dean, M. C. (2015). Reconstructed Homo habilis type OH 7 suggests deep-rooted species diversity in early Homo. Nature, 519(7541), 83.
Stringer, C. (2016). The origin and evolution of Homo sapiens. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, 371(1698), 20150237.
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