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H. Habilis Essay, Research Paper

Homo habilis is the earliest known species of the genus. It existed from approximately 2.2 to 1.6 million years ago in east Africa. Only a few fossil remains have been discovered so far, but these specimens exhibit a clear trend toward larger brain size. H. habilis brains are about 30% larger than those of A. africanus. Males were much larger than females.

A skull found in 1972 on the shores of Lake Turkana, it represents the oldest individual human yet found. The kind of environment in which this earliest known human species lived is expected to be open bush and savanna country in east Africa. This must have been a challenging environment, filled with large predators.

Homo habilis qualifies as a human almost solely by it?s skeletal anatomy, which is very much like Homo sapiens (or our own). Very little is known about it?s life or mental capabilities, although the stone tools are thought to have been fashioned by this species. Crude hand axes and stone flakes could have been manufactured as needed or as opportunity arose. The fracture lines of stone create a sharp cutting surface capable of butchering fairly large animals.

Homo Habilis was first discovered in 1959 in the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania. The nearly complete skull of H. habilis was discovered in 1972 at Koobi Fora on the shores of Lake Turkana in Kenya. It age is estimated at 1.8 million years and its brain capacity at 800cc. Other H. habilis remains have since been discovered at Olduvai Gorge.

There is considerable variation among the specimens from this era found this far. Some anthropologist argue that the variations appear to indicate that several species of humans existed and competed at the same time in east Africa; other scientist lump all the individuals together in a single species.


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