Human evolution

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Many species make and use tools , but it is the human genus that dominates the areas of making and using more complex tools. Evolutionary history of the primates can be traced back 65 million years. The earliest known catarrhine is Kamoyapithecus from uppermost Oligocene at Eragaleit in the northern Great Rift Valley in Kenya, dated to 24 million years ago. It is believed that these species were the first to use fire and complex tools. Evolutionary psychology Psychology portal Evolutionary biology portal.


For humans, sexuality has important social functions: Sexual desire or libido , is experienced as a bodily urge, often accompanied by strong emotions such as love, ecstasy and jealousy.

The significance of sexuality in the human species is reflected in a number of physical features among them hidden ovulation , the evolution of external scrotum and among great apes a relatively large penis suggesting sperm competition in humans , the absence of an os penis , permanent secondary sexual characteristics and the forming of pair bonds based on sexual attraction as a common social structure.

Contrary to other primates that often advertise estrus through visible signs, human females do not have a distinct or visible signs of ovulation, plus they experience sexual desire outside of their fertile periods. These adaptations indicate that the meaning of sexuality in humans is similar to that found in the bonobo , and that the complex human sexual behavior has a long evolutionary history.

Human choices in acting on sexuality are commonly influenced by cultural norms which vary widely. Restrictions are often determined by religious beliefs or social customs.

The pioneering researcher Sigmund Freud believed that humans are born polymorphously perverse , which means that any number of objects could be a source of pleasure. According to Freud, humans then pass through five stages of psychosexual development and can fixate on any stage because of various traumas during the process.

For Alfred Kinsey , another influential sex researcher, people can fall anywhere along a continuous scale of sexual orientation , with only small minorities fully heterosexual or homosexual.

Humans are highly social beings and tend to live in large complex social groups. More than any other creature, humans are capable of using systems of communication for self-expression, the exchange of ideas, and organization , and as such have created complex social structures composed of many cooperating and competing groups.

Human groups range from the size of families to nations. Social interactions between humans have established an extremely wide variety [ clarification needed ] of values, social norms, and rituals, which together form the basis of human society. Culture is defined here as patterns of complex symbolic behavior, i.

While many species communicate , language is unique to humans, a defining feature of humanity, and a cultural universal. Unlike the limited systems of other animals, human language is open—an infinite number of meanings can be produced by combining a limited number of symbols.

Human language also has the capacity of displacement , using words to represent things and happenings that are not presently or locally occurring, but reside in the shared imagination of interlocutors. Language is central to the communication between humans, and to the sense of identity that unites nations, cultures and ethnic groups. The invention of writing systems at least five thousand years ago allowed the preservation of language on material objects, and was a major technological advancement.

The science of linguistics describes the structure and function of language and the relationship between languages. There are approximately six thousand different languages currently in use, including sign languages , and many thousands more that are extinct. The sexual division of humans into male, female, and in some societies other genders [] has been marked culturally by a corresponding division of roles, norms, practices , dress, behavior, rights, duties , privileges , status , and power.

Cultural differences by gender have often been believed to have arisen naturally out of a division of reproductive labor; the biological fact that women give birth led to their further cultural responsibility for nurturing and caring for children.

Gender roles have varied historically, and challenges to predominant gender norms have recurred in many societies. All human societies organize, recognize and classify types of social relationships based on relations between parents and children consanguinity , and relations through marriage affinity. These kinds of relations are generally called kinship relations. In most societies kinship places mutual responsibilities and expectations of solidarity on the individuals that are so related, and those who recognize each other as kinsmen come to form networks through which other social institutions can be regulated.

Among the many functions of kinship is the ability to form descent groups , groups of people sharing a common line of descent, which can function as political units such as clans.

Another function is the way in which kinship unites families through marriage, forming kinship alliances between groups of wife-takers and wife-givers.

Such alliances also often have important political and economical ramifications, and may result in the formation of political organization above the community level. Kinship relations often includes regulations for whom an individual should or shouldn't marry. All societies have rules of incest taboo , according to which marriage between certain kinds of kin relations are prohibited—such rules vary widely between cultures.

Rules and norms for marriage and social behavior among kinsfolk is often reflected in the systems of kinship terminology in the various languages of the world. In many societies kinship relations can also be formed through forms of co-habitation, adoption, fostering, or companionship, which also tends to create relations of enduring solidarity nurture kinship.

Humans often form ethnic groups, such groups tend to be larger than kinship networks and be organized around a common identity defined variously in terms of shared ancestry and history, shared cultural norms and language, or shared biological phenotype.

Such ideologies of shared characteristics are often perpetuated in the form of powerful, compelling narratives that give legitimacy and continuity to the set of shared values. Ethnic groupings often correspond to some level of political organization such as the band , tribe , city state or nation.

Although ethnic groups appear and disappear through history, members of ethnic groups often conceptualize their groups as having histories going back into the deep past. Such ideologies give ethnicity a powerful role in defining social identity and in constructing solidarity between members of an ethno-political unit. This unifying property of ethnicity has been closely tied to the rise of the nation state as the predominant form of political organization in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Society is the system of organizations and institutions arising from interaction between humans. Within a society people can be divided into different groups according to their income, wealth, power , reputation , etc.

Recognition of the state's claim to independence by other states, enabling it to enter into international agreements, is often important to the establishment of its statehood. The "state" can also be defined in terms of domestic conditions, specifically, as conceptualized by Max Weber , "a state is a human community that successfully claims the monopoly of the 'legitimate' use of physical force within a given territory.

Government can be defined as the political means of creating and enforcing laws; typically via a bureaucratic hierarchy. Politics is the process by which decisions are made within groups; this process often involves conflict as well as compromise. Although the term is generally applied to behavior within governments, politics is also observed in all human group interactions, including corporate, academic, and religious institutions.

Many different political systems exist, as do many different ways of understanding them, and many definitions overlap. Examples of governments include monarchy, Communist state , military dictatorship , theocracy , and liberal democracy , the last of which is considered dominant today. All of these issues have a direct relationship with economics. Trade is the voluntary exchange of goods and services, and is a form of economics.

A mechanism that allows trade is called a market. Modern traders instead generally negotiate through a medium of exchange, such as money. As a result, buying can be separated from selling, or earning. Because of specialization and division of labor , most people concentrate on a small aspect of manufacturing or service, trading their labor for products.

Trade exists between regions because different regions have an absolute or comparative advantage in the production of some tradable commodity, or because different regions' size allows for the benefits of mass production. Economics is a social science which studies the production, distribution, trade, and consumption of goods and services. Economics focuses on measurable variables, and is broadly divided into two main branches: Aspects receiving particular attention in economics are resource allocation , production, distribution, trade, and competition.

Economic logic is increasingly applied to any problem that involves choice under scarcity or determining economic value. War is a state of organized armed conflict between states or non-state actors.

War is characterized by the use of lethal violence against others—whether between combatants or upon non-combatants —to achieve military goals through force. Lesser, often spontaneous conflicts, such as brawls, riots , revolts , and melees , are not considered to be warfare. Revolutions can be nonviolent or an organized and armed revolution which denotes a state of war. During the 20th century, it is estimated that between and million people died as a result of war.

A war between internal elements of a state is a civil war. There have been a wide variety of rapidly advancing tactics throughout the history of war, ranging from conventional war to asymmetric warfare to total war and unconventional warfare. Techniques include hand to hand combat , the use of ranged weapons , naval warfare , and, more recently, air support. Military intelligence has often played a key role in determining victory and defeat. Propaganda, which often includes information, slanted opinion and disinformation, plays a key role both in maintaining unity within a warring group and in sowing discord among opponents.

In modern warfare , soldiers and combat vehicles are used to control the land, warships the sea, and aircraft the sky. These fields have also overlapped in the forms of marines , paratroopers , aircraft carriers , and surface-to-air missiles , among others. Satellites in low Earth orbit have made outer space a factor in warfare as well through their use for detailed intelligence gathering; however, no known aggressive actions have been taken from space.

Stone tools were used by proto-humans at least 2. Since then, humans have made major advances, developing complex technology to create tools to aid their lives and allowing for other advancements in culture.

Major leaps in technology include the discovery of agriculture—what is known as the Neolithic Revolution , and the invention of automated machines in the Industrial Revolution. Archaeology attempts to tell the story of past or lost cultures in part by close examination of the artifacts they produced.

Early humans left stone tools , pottery , and jewelry that are particular to various regions and times. Throughout history, humans have altered their appearance by wearing clothing [] and adornments , by trimming or shaving hair or by means of body modifications. Body modification is the deliberate altering of the human body for any non-medical reason, such as aesthetics, sexual enhancement, a rite of passage, religious reasons, to display group membership or affiliation, to create body art , shock value, or self-expression.

Philosophy is a discipline or field of study involving the investigation, analysis, and development of ideas at a general, abstract, or fundamental level. It is the discipline searching for a general understanding of reality, reasoning and values. Major fields of philosophy include logic , metaphysics , epistemology , philosophy of mind , and axiology which includes ethics and aesthetics. Philosophy covers a very wide range of approaches, and is used to refer to a worldview , to a perspective on an issue, or to the positions argued for by a particular philosopher or school of philosophy.

Religion is generally defined as a belief system concerning the supernatural , sacred or divine , and practices, values , institutions and rituals associated with such belief. Some religions also have a moral code.

The evolution and the history of the first religions have recently become areas of active scientific investigation. Some of the chief questions and issues religions are concerned with include life after death commonly involving belief in an afterlife , the origin of life , the nature of the universe religious cosmology and its ultimate fate eschatology , and what is moral or immoral. A common source for answers to these questions are beliefs in transcendent divine beings such as deities or a singular God, although not all religions are theistic.

Spirituality, belief or involvement in matters of the soul or spirit , is one of the many different approaches humans take in trying to answer fundamental questions about humankind's place in the universe, the meaning of life , and the ideal way to live one's life.

Though these topics have also been addressed by philosophy, and to some extent by science, spirituality is unique in that it focuses on mystical or supernatural concepts such as karma and God.

Although the exact level of religiosity can be hard to measure, [] a majority of humans professes some variety of religious or spiritual belief, although many in some countries a majority are irreligious. This includes humans who have no religious beliefs or do not identify with any religion.

Humanism is a philosophy which seeks to include all of humanity and all issues common to humans; it is usually non-religious. Most religions and spiritual beliefs are clearly distinct from science on both a philosophical and methodological level; the two are not generally considered mutually exclusive and a majority of humans hold a mix of both scientific and religious views. The distinction between philosophy and religion, on the other hand, is at times less clear, and the two are linked in such fields as the philosophy of religion and theology.

Humans have been producing art works at least since the days of Cro-Magnon. Art may be defined as a form of cultural expression and the usage of narratives of liberation and exploration i.

This distinction may be applied to objects or performances, current or historical, and its prestige extends to those who made, found, exhibit, or own them. In the modern use of the word, art is commonly understood to be the process or result of making material works that, from concept to creation, adhere to the "creative impulse" of human beings.

Music is a natural intuitive phenomenon based on the three distinct and interrelated organization structures of rhythm, harmony, and melody. Listening to music is perhaps the most common and universal form of entertainment, while learning and understanding it are popular disciplines.

Literature, the body of written—and possibly oral—works, especially creative ones, includes prose, poetry and drama, both fiction and non-fiction.

Literature includes such genres as epic , legend, myth, ballad, and folklore. Another unique aspect of human culture and thought is the development of complex methods for acquiring knowledge through observation, quantification, and verification.

All of science can be divided into three major branches, the formal sciences e. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about humans as a species. For other uses, see Human disambiguation. For the concept of human races, see Race human classification. Man word and Names for the human species.

Life timeline and Nature timeline. Homo and Homo sapiens. Anthropology , Human evolution , and Timeline of human evolution. Archaic human admixture with modern humans , Early human migrations , Multiregional origin of modern humans , Prehistoric autopsy , and Recent African origin of modern humans.

Neolithic Revolution and Cradle of civilization. History of the world. Human migration , Demography , and World population. Basic anatomical features of female and male humans. These models have had body hair and male facial hair removed and head hair trimmed. The female model is wearing red nail polish on her toenails and a ring. Vitruvian Man , Leonardo da Vinci 's image is often used as an implied symbol of the essential symmetry of the human body, and by extension, of the universe as a whole.

Human physical appearance , Anatomically modern human , and Sex differences in humans. Boy and girl before puberty. Adolescent male and female. Adult man and woman. Elderly man and woman. Childbirth , Life expectancy , and Human development biology. Venus of Willendorf statuette from the Upper Palaeolithic period. Two starved boys during the Russian famine of — Human brain and Mind. Love and Human sexuality. This section needs additional citations for verification.

Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. July Learn how and when to remove this template message. Culture , Society , and Human behavior. Gender role and Gender. Origins of society , Society , Government , Politics , and State polity. Clothing , Body modification , and Haircut. Philosophy and Human self-reflection. Art , Music , and Literature.

This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. March Learn how and when to remove this template message. Human portal Mammals portal. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference 3rd ed. Johns Hopkins University Press. Archived from the original on 7 December Retrieved 14 January Animal Diversity Web UMich.

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The Chinese Knight Errant. Archived from the original on 25 October Race is a poor empirical description of the patterns of difference that we encounter within our species. The billions of humans alive today simply do not fit into neat and tidy biological boxes called races. Science has proven this conclusively. The concept of race The genetic differences that exist among populations are characterized by gradual changes across geographic regions, not sharp, categorical distinctions.

Groups of people across the globe have varying frequencies of polymorphic genes, which are genes with any of several differing nucleotide sequences.

There is no such thing as a set of genes that belongs exclusively to one group and not to another. The clinal, gradually changing nature of geographic genetic difference is complicated further by the migration and mixing that human groups have engaged in since prehistory.

Genetic studies have substantiated the absence of clear biological borders; thus the term "race" is rarely used in scientific terminology, either in biological anthropology and in human genetics. Race has no genetic or biological basis.

Human beings do not fit the zoological definition of race. Race is not a biological category that is politically charged. Among the genera thought to be in the ape lineage leading up to 13 million years ago are Proconsul , Rangwapithecus , Dendropithecus , Limnopithecus , Nacholapithecus , Equatorius , Nyanzapithecus , Afropithecus , Heliopithecus , and Kenyapithecus , all from East Africa. The presence of other generalized non-cercopithecids of Middle Miocene from sites far distant— Otavipithecus from cave deposits in Namibia, and Pierolapithecus and Dryopithecus from France , Spain and Austria —is evidence of a wide diversity of forms across Africa and the Mediterranean basin during the relatively warm and equable climatic regimes of the Early and Middle Miocene.

The youngest of the Miocene hominoids, Oreopithecus , is from coal beds in Italy that have been dated to 9 million years ago. Molecular evidence indicates that the lineage of gibbons family Hylobatidae diverged from the line of great apes some 18—12 million years ago, and that of orangutans subfamily Ponginae diverged from the other great apes at about 12 million years; there are no fossils that clearly document the ancestry of gibbons, which may have originated in a so-far-unknown South East Asian hominoid population, but fossil proto-orangutans may be represented by Sivapithecus from India and Griphopithecus from Turkey , dated to around 10 million years ago.

Species close to the last common ancestor of gorillas, chimpanzees and humans may be represented by Nakalipithecus fossils found in Kenya and Ouranopithecus found in Greece. Molecular evidence suggests that between 8 and 4 million years ago, first the gorillas, and then the chimpanzees genus Pan split off from the line leading to the humans.

Human DNA is approximately The fossil record, however, of gorillas and chimpanzees is limited; both poor preservation—rain forest soils tend to be acidic and dissolve bone—and sampling bias probably contribute to this problem. Other hominins probably adapted to the drier environments outside the equatorial belt; and there they encountered antelope, hyenas, dogs, pigs, elephants, horses, and others. The equatorial belt contracted after about 8 million years ago, and there is very little fossil evidence for the split—thought to have occurred around that time—of the hominin lineage from the lineages of gorillas and chimpanzees.

The earliest fossils argued by some to belong to the human lineage are Sahelanthropus tchadensis 7 Ma and Orrorin tugenensis 6 Ma , followed by Ardipithecus 5.

It has been argued in a study of the life history of Ar. It was also argued that the species provides support for the notion that very early hominins, akin to bonobos Pan paniscus the less aggressive species of chimpanzee, may have evolved via the process of self-domestication. Consequently, arguing against the so-called "chimpanzee referential model" [] the authors suggest it is no longer tenable to use common chimpanzee Pan troglodytes social and mating behaviors in models of early hominin social evolution.

When commenting on the absence of aggressive canine morphology in Ar. However, the fact that Ar. In fact the trend towards increased maternal care, female mate selection and self-domestication may have been stronger and more refined in Ar. The authors argue that many of the basic human adaptations evolved in the ancient forest and woodland ecosystems of late Miocene and early Pliocene Africa.

Consequently, they argue that humans may not represent evolution from a chimpanzee-like ancestor as has traditionally been supposed. This suggests many modern human adaptations represent phylogenetically deep traits and that the behavior and morphology of chimpanzees may have evolved subsequent to the split with the common ancestor they share with humans. The genus Australopithecus evolved in eastern Africa around 4 million years ago before spreading throughout the continent and eventually becoming extinct 2 million years ago.

During this time period various forms of australopiths existed, including Australopithecus anamensis , Au. There is still some debate among academics whether certain African hominid species of this time, such as Au.

However, if these species do indeed constitute their own genus, then they may be given their own name, the Paranthropus. A new proposed species Australopithecus deyiremeda is claimed to have been discovered living at the same time period of Au. There is debate if Au.

The earliest documented representative of the genus Homo is Homo habilis , which evolved around 2. The brains of these early hominins were about the same size as that of a chimpanzee , although it has been suggested that this was the time in which the human SRGAP2 gene doubled, producing a more rapid wiring of the frontal cortex. It is believed that Homo erectus and Homo ergaster were the first to use fire and complex tools, and were the first of the hominin line to leave Africa, spreading throughout Africa, Asia, and Europe between 1.

According to the recent African origin of modern humans theory, modern humans evolved in Africa possibly from Homo heidelbergensis , Homo rhodesiensis or Homo antecessor and migrated out of the continent some 50, to , years ago, gradually replacing local populations of Homo erectus , Denisova hominins , Homo floresiensis and Homo neanderthalensis.

Homo sapiens is the only extant species of its genus, Homo. While some extinct Homo species might have been ancestors of Homo sapiens , many, perhaps most, were likely "cousins", having speciated away from the ancestral hominin line.

Based on archaeological and paleontological evidence, it has been possible to infer, to some extent, the ancient dietary practices [34] of various Homo species and to study the role of diet in physical and behavioral evolution within Homo. Some anthropologists and archaeologists subscribe to the Toba catastrophe theory , which posits that the supereruption of Lake Toba on Sumatran island in Indonesia some 70, years ago caused global consequences, [] killing the majority of humans and creating a population bottleneck that affected the genetic inheritance of all humans today.

Homo habilis lived from about 2. Homo habilis had smaller molars and larger brains than the australopithecines, and made tools from stone and perhaps animal bones. One of the first known hominins was nicknamed 'handy man' by discoverer Louis Leakey due to its association with stone tools. Some scientists have proposed moving this species out of Homo and into Australopithecus due to the morphology of its skeleton being more adapted to living on trees rather than to moving on two legs like Homo sapiens.

In May , a new species, Homo gautengensis , was discovered in South Africa. These are proposed species names for fossils from about 1. The first fossils of Homo erectus were discovered by Dutch physician Eugene Dubois in on the Indonesian island of Java. He originally named the material Anthropopithecus erectus , considered a this point as a chimpanzee-like fossil primate and Pithecanthropus erectus , changing his mind as of based on its morphology, which he considered to be intermediate between that of humans and apes.

Weidenreich concluded in that because of their anatomical similarity with modern humans it was necessary to gather all these specimens of Java and China in a single species of the genus Homo , the species Homo erectus.

The early phase of Homo erectus , from 1. In Africa in the Early Pleistocene, 1. This species also may have used fire to cook meat. Richard Wrangham suggests that the fact that Homo seems to have been ground dwelling, with reduced intestinal length, smaller dentition, "and swelled our brains to their current, horrendously fuel-inefficient size", [] suggest that control of fire and releasing increased nutritional value through cooking was the key adaptation that separated Homo from tree-sleeping Australopithecines.

Many paleoanthropologists now use the term Homo ergaster for the non-Asian forms of this group, and reserve Homo erectus only for those fossils that are found in Asia and meet certain skeletal and dental requirements which differ slightly from H. These are proposed as species that may be intermediate between H. Also proposed as Homo sapiens heidelbergensis or Homo sapiens paleohungaricus.

Homo neanderthalensis , alternatively designated as Homo sapiens neanderthalensis , [] lived in Europe and Asia from , [] to about 28, years ago. Many of these relate to the superior adaptation to cold environments possessed by the Neanderthal populations. Their surface to volume ratio is an extreme version of that found amongst Inuit populations, indicating that they were less inclined to lose body heat than were AMH.

From brain Endocasts, Neanderthals also had significantly larger brains. This would seem to indicate that the intellectual superiority of AMH populations may be questionable. Dunbar, however, have shown important differences in Brain architecture. For example, in both the orbital chamber size and in the size of the occipital lobe , the larger size suggests that the Neanderthal had a better visual acuity than modern humans.

This would give a superior vision in the inferior light conditions found in Glacial Europe. It also seems that the higher body mass of Neanderthals had a correspondingly larger brain mass required for body care and control. The Neanderthal populations seem to have been physically superior to AMH populations. These differences may have been sufficient to give Neanderthal populations an environmental superiority to AMH populations from 75, to 45, years BP.

With these differences, Neanderthal brains show a smaller area was available for social functioning. Plotting group size possible from endocrainial volume, suggests that AMH populations minus occipital lobe size , had a Dunbars number of possible relationships. Neanderthal populations seem to have been limited to about individuals. This would show up in a larger number of possible mates for AMH humans, with increased risks of inbreeding amongst Neanderthal populations.

It also suggests that humans had larger trade catchment areas than Neanderthals confirmed in the distribution of stone tools. With larger populations, social and technological innovations were easier to fix in human populations, which may have all contributed to the fact that modern Homo sapiens replaced the Neanderthal populations by 28, BP.

Earlier evidence from sequencing mitochondrial DNA suggested that no significant gene flow occurred between H. Though this interbred Romanian population seems not to have been ancestral to modern humans, the finding indicates that interbreeding happened repeatedly. In , archaeologists working at the site of Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains of Siberia uncovered a small bone fragment from the fifth finger of a juvenile member of Denisovans.

While the divergence point of the mtDNA was unexpectedly deep in time, [] the full genomic sequence suggested the Denisovans belonged to the same lineage as Neanderthals, with the two diverging shortly after their line split from the lineage that gave rise to modern humans. The existence of this distant branch creates a much more complex picture of humankind during the Late Pleistocene than previously thought.

Alleles thought to have originated in Neanderthals and Denisovans have been identified at several genetic loci in the genomes of modern humans outside of Africa. HLA haplotypes from Denisovans and Neanderthal represent more than half the HLA alleles of modern Eurasians, [89] indicating strong positive selection for these introgressed alleles.

Corinne Simoneti at Vanderbilt University, in Nashville and her team have found from medical records of 28, people of European descent that the presence of Neanderthal DNA segments may be associated with a likelihood to suffer depression more frequently. The flow of genes from Neanderthal populations to modern human was not all one way. Sergi Castellano of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, has in reported that while Denisovan and Neanderthal genomes are more related to each other than they are to us, Siberian Neanderthal genomes show similarity to the modern human gene pool, more so than to European Neanderthal populations.

The evidence suggests that the Neanderthal populations interbred with modern humans possibly , years ago, probably somewhere in the Near East.

Studies of a Neanderthal child at Gibraltar show from brain development and teeth eruption that Neanderthal children may have matured more rapidly than is the case for Homo sapiens. In other words, H. The main find was a skeleton believed to be a woman of about 30 years of age. Found in , it has been dated to approximately 18, years old. However, there is an ongoing debate over whether H.

This, coupled with pathological dwarfism, could have resulted in a significantly diminutive human. The other major attack on H. The hypothesis of pathological dwarfism, however, fails to explain additional anatomical features that are unlike those of modern humans diseased or not but much like those of ancient members of our genus. Aside from cranial features, these features include the form of bones in the wrist, forearm, shoulder, knees, and feet. Additionally, this hypothesis fails to explain the find of multiple examples of individuals with these same characteristics, indicating they were common to a large population, and not limited to one individual.

The direct evidence suggests there was a migration of H. A subsequent migration both within and out of Africa eventually replaced the earlier dispersed H. This migration and origin theory is usually referred to as the "recent single-origin hypothesis" or "out of Africa" theory. The Toba catastrophe theory , which postulates a population bottleneck for H. Distinctive human genetic variability has arisen as the result of the founder effect , by archaic admixture and by recent evolutionary pressures.

The use of tools has been interpreted as a sign of intelligence, and it has been theorized that tool use may have stimulated certain aspects of human evolution, especially the continued expansion of the human brain. The brain of a modern human consumes about 13 watts kilocalories per day , a fifth of the body's resting power consumption.

Researchers have suggested that early hominins were thus under evolutionary pressure to increase their capacity to create and use tools. Precisely when early humans started to use tools is difficult to determine, because the more primitive these tools are for example, sharp-edged stones the more difficult it is to decide whether they are natural objects or human artifacts.

Many species make and use tools , but it is the human genus that dominates the areas of making and using more complex tools. The oldest known tools are flakes from West Turkana, Kenya, which date to 3. The next oldest stone tools are from Gona, Ethiopia, and are considered the beginning of the Oldowan technology. These tools date to about 2.

A Homo fossil was found near some Oldowan tools , and its age was noted at 2. It is a possibility but does not yet represent solid evidence. It allows humans the dexterity and strength to make and use complex tools. This unique anatomical feature separates humans from apes and other nonhuman primates, and is not seen in human fossils older than 1. Bernard Wood noted that Paranthropus co-existed with the early Homo species in the area of the "Oldowan Industrial Complex" over roughly the same span of time.

Although there is no direct evidence which identifies Paranthropus as the tool makers, their anatomy lends to indirect evidence of their capabilities in this area. Most paleoanthropologists agree that the early Homo species were indeed responsible for most of the Oldowan tools found.

They argue that when most of the Oldowan tools were found in association with human fossils, Homo was always present, but Paranthropus was not.

In , Randall Susman used the anatomy of opposable thumbs as the basis for his argument that both the Homo and Paranthropus species were toolmakers. He compared bones and muscles of human and chimpanzee thumbs, finding that humans have 3 muscles which are lacking in chimpanzees. Humans also have thicker metacarpals with broader heads, allowing more precise grasping than the chimpanzee hand can perform. Susman posited that modern anatomy of the human opposable thumb is an evolutionary response to the requirements associated with making and handling tools and that both species were indeed toolmakers.

Stone tools are first attested around 2. Archaeologists working in the Great Rift Valley in Kenya have discovered the oldest known stone tools in the world. Dated to around 3. The period from ,—, years ago is also known as the Acheulean , when H. After , BP the more refined so-called Levallois technique was developed, a series of consecutive strikes, by which scrapers, slicers "racloirs" , needles, and flattened needles were made.

In this period they also started to make tools out of bone. Until about 50,—40, years ago, the use of stone tools seems to have progressed stepwise. Currently paleoanthropologists are debating whether these Homo species possessed some or many of the cultural and behavioral traits associated with modern humans such as language, complex symbolic thinking, technological creativity etc. It seems that they were culturally conservative maintaining simple technologies and foraging patterns over very long periods.

Around 50, BP, modern human culture started to evolve more rapidly. The transition to behavioral modernity has been characterized by most as a Eurasian "Great Leap Forward", [] or as the "Upper Palaeolithic Revolution", [] due to the sudden appearance of distinctive signs of modern behavior and big game hunting [93] in the archaeological record.

Some other scholars consider the transition to have been more gradual, noting that some features had already appeared among archaic African Homo sapiens since , years ago. Modern humans started burying their dead, using animal hides to make clothing, hunting with more sophisticated techniques such as using trapping pits or driving animals off cliffs , and engaging in cave painting.

Among concrete examples of modern human behavior , anthropologists include specialization of tools, use of jewellery and images such as cave drawings , organization of living space, rituals for example, burials with grave gifts , specialized hunting techniques, exploration of less hospitable geographical areas, and barter trade networks.

Debate continues as to whether a "revolution" led to modern humans "the big bang of human consciousness" , or whether the evolution was more "gradual". Evolution has continued in anatomically modern human populations, which are affected by both natural selection and genetic drift. Although selection pressure on some traits, such as resistance to smallpox, has decreased in modern human life, humans are still undergoing natural selection for many other traits.

Some of these are due to specific environmental pressures, while others are related to lifestyle changes since the development of agriculture 10, years ago , urban civilization 5, , and industrialization years ago. It has been argued that human evolution has accelerated since the development of agriculture 10, years ago and civilization some 5, years ago, resulting, it is claimed, in substantial genetic differences between different current human populations.

Particularly conspicuous is variation in superficial characteristics, such as Afro-textured hair , or the recent evolution of light skin and blond hair in some populations, which are attributed to differences in climate.

Particularly strong selective pressures have resulted in high-altitude adaptation in humans , with different ones in different isolated populations. Studies of the genetic basis show that some developed very recently, with Tibetans evolving over 3, years to have high proportions of an allele of EPAS1 that is adaptive to high altitudes. Other evolution is related to endemic diseases: For example, the population at risk of the severe debilitating disease kuru has significant over-representation of an immune variant of the prion protein gene GV versus non-immune alleles.

The frequency of this genetic variant is due to the survival of immune persons. Recent human evolution related to agriculture includes genetic resistance to infectious disease that has appeared in human populations by crossing the species barrier from domesticated animals, [] as well as changes in metabolism due to changes in diet, such as lactase persistence.

In contemporary times, since industrialization, some trends have been observed: This list is in chronological order across the table by genus. Please see articles for more information. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Life timeline and Nature timeline. A global mapping model of human migration, based from divergence of the mitochondrial DNA which indicates the matrilineage.

A "trellis" as Milford H. Wolpoff called it that emphasizes back-and-forth gene flow among geographic regions. Different models for the beginning of the present human species. Early human migrations , Recent African origin of modern humans , Multiregional origin of modern humans , and Early hominids in Southeast Asia. Human evolutionary genetics and Human genetic variation.

Interbreeding between archaic and modern humans. For evolutionary history before primates, see Evolution of mammals , Evolutionary history of life , and Timeline of human evolution. It has been suggested that this section be split out into another article titled Homo. Control of fire by early humans. Hall ; Benedikt Hallgrímsson Evolutionary Biology , October Scientific American , May Brazilian Archives of Biology and Technology.

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