Before Darwin[ edit ] The word homo, the name of the biological genus to which humans belong, is Latin for "human". It was chosen originally by Carl Linnaeus in his classification system. The word "human" is from the Latin humanus, the adjectival form of homo.
Scientific evidence shows that the physical and behavioral traits shared by all people originated from apelike ancestors and evolved over a period of approximately six million years.
One of the earliest defining human traits, bipedalism -- the ability to walk on two legs -- evolved over 4 million years ago. Other important human characteristics -- such as a large and complex brain, the ability to make and use tools, and the capacity for language -- developed more recently.
Many advanced traits -- including complex symbolic expression, art, and elaborate cultural diversity -- emerged mainly during the pastyears. Physical and genetic similarities show that the modern human speciesHomo sapiens, has a very close relationship to another group of primate species, the apes.
Humans first evolved in Africa, and much of human evolution occurred on that continent. The fossils of early humans who lived between 6 and 2 million years ago come entirely from Africa.
Most scientists currently recognize some 15 to 20 different species of early humans.
Scientists do not all agree, however, about how these species are related or which ones simply died out. Many early human species -- certainly the majority of them — left Explain debates about where humans originate living descendants. Scientists also debate over how to identify and classify particular species of early humans, and about what factors influenced the evolution and extinction of each species.
Early humans first migrated out of Africa into Asia probably between 2 million and 1. They entered Europe somewhat later, between 1. Species of modern humans populated many parts of the world much later.
For instance, people first came to Australia probably within the past 60, years and to the Americas within the past 30, years or so. The beginnings of agriculture and the rise of the first civilizations occurred within the past 12, years. Paleoanthropology Paleoanthropology is the scientific study of human evolution.
Paleoanthropology is a subfield of anthropology, the study of human culture, society, and biology. The field involves an understanding of the similarities and differences between humans and other species in their genes, body form, physiology, and behavior.
Paleoanthropologists search for the roots of human physical traits and behavior. They seek to discover how evolution has shaped the potentials, tendencies, and limitations of all people.
For many people, paleoanthropology is an exciting scientific field because it investigates the origin, over millions of years, of the universal and defining traits of our species. However, some people find the concept of human evolution troubling because it can seem not to fit with religious and other traditional beliefs about how people, other living things, and the world came to be.
Nevertheless, many people have come to reconcile their beliefs with the scientific evidence. Early human fossils and archeological remains offer the most important clues about this ancient past.
These remains include bones, tools and any other evidence such as footprints, evidence of hearths, or butchery marks on animal bones left by earlier people. Usually, the remains were buried and preserved naturally. They are then found either on the surface exposed by rain, rivers, and wind erosion or by digging in the ground.
By studying fossilized bones, scientists learn about the physical appearance of earlier humans and how it changed. Bone size, shape, and markings left by muscles tell us how those predecessors moved around, held tools, and how the size of their brains changed over a long time.
Archeological evidence refers to the things earlier people made and the places where scientists find them. By studying this type of evidence, archeologists can understand how early humans made and used tools and lived in their environments.
The process of evolution The process of evolution involves a series of natural changes that cause species populations of different organisms to arise, adapt to the environment, and become extinct.
All species or organisms have originated through the process of biological evolution. In animals that reproduce sexually, including humans, the term species refers to a group whose adult members regularly interbreed, resulting in fertile offspring -- that is, offspring themselves capable of reproducing.
Scientists classify each species with a unique, two-part scientific name. In this system, modern humans are classified as Homo sapiens. Evolution occurs when there is change in the genetic material -- the chemical molecule, DNA -- which is inherited from the parents, and especially in the proportions of different genes in a population.
Genes represent the segments of DNA that provide the chemical code for producing proteins.Evolution of modern humans.
The origin of modern humans has probably been the most debated issue in evolutionary biology over the last few decades. Where did we come from? Historically, two key models have been put forward to explain the evolution of Homo sapiens.
These are the ‘out of Africa’ model and the ‘multi-regional’ model. The debates also saw the participation of Delany, and George Washington Williams defended monogenesis as the starting point of his pioneer history of African-Americans.
Monogenism or sometimes monogenesis is the theory of human origins which posits a common descent for all human races. The "Recent African origin" of modern humans means "single origin" (monogenism) and has been used in various contexts as an antonym to polygenism.
The debate in anthropology had swung in favour of monogenism by the midth century. Where do humans come from? That’s a term for humans and our extinct ancestors (such as Neandertals). As a paleoanthropologist, Lee Berger studies such hominids at South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand.
A. sediba most likely originated in Africa more than 2 million years ago. Studies and evidences show that Africa is the continent on which human life begin. It is in Africa that the oldest fossils of the early ancestors of humankind have been found.
Modern humans originated in Africa within the past , years and evolved from their most likely recent common ancestor, Homo erectus, which means ‘upright man’ in Latin. Homo erectus is an extinct species of human that lived between million and , years ago.