It is no doubt that earth has a long history. Aged around 4.6 billion years, earth has ample of history stored in the safe as he witnesses of many evolutions. Human evolution is included there. There is a fierce debate going on about the theory of evolution by Darwin’s book “On the Origin of Species.” Like other species Darwin observed, humans may have gone through a lengthy transformation. From Darwin’s observation mainly in Australia, every species are the ‘better’ version of its earlier. As the famous quote of him has it: ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable that survives, colloquially famous as "natural selection” or “survival of the fittest”. His theory is later supported by Thomas Huxley and Richard Owen who share the similar opinion. In 1863, Huxley published a book consisted of prior theorists that stand for the evolution theory not long after Darwin’s publication. Unfortunately, the lack of evidence was a major hindrance for the evolution theorists. For one, evidence is principal for scientific investigation. And yet, even after the first fossil found by Eugene Dubois in 1891, the battle of human origins continued. As of now, great scientists still struggle to figure about the origin of humanoid species.
It is believed that the modern humans are the progenies of Homo Erectus. Even though there’s also another theory saying that the modern human ancestor is Homo Sapiens alone. Well, theories about evolution are everywhere and again a fierce debate. But, one thing certain from the evolution theory, our kind evolved from the great apes, the Hominid family. Roughly around 20 million years ago, they’re the one occupying this earth. Then, as time went and earth changed, there’re different human species emerged. Now, it goes back to only one species, ours. Yet, it’s quite a conspiracy theory. The talk of evolution is always enthralling, isn’t it? So, read on to know more about our possible ancestors! Here is the list of 7 Humanoid species that existed before us.
7. Homo Heidelbergensis
Dated back to 700,000 – 200,000 years ago, there was a humanoid species with a face more flat and a browridge very large compared to the modern human. Homo Heidelbergensis is the name you will hear for it. As one of the early species in human race, this species had the thick features of hominid family. It wasn’t very handsome and distinctive like the modern humans. The first fossil discovered was in 1907, thanks to a worker who found an ancient jaw in the Rösch sandpit and later gave it to Otto Schoentensack. Otto was the first scientist to identify about this species and since it wasn’t yet known, he proposed the name of Homo Heidelbergensis. Naming it after the city where the fossil was found as well the university where he worked. Thus, if you wonder why it sounds a bit Germany-ish, you have your answer there.
From the discovery, it’s likely that this species is the first to live in the colder climate. Most species of human were originated from Africa. The emergence of Homo Heidelbergensis in German showed that they’re adapting with the climate. With average height for a male was around 1,75m and weighed around 136lbs. The female average for height was 1,57m and weighed around 112lbs. The change in the physical features was the keys of their adaption with cold. With shorter and wider body, it helped them to save heat in the cold climate. Homo Heidelbergensis is also the pioneer in building shelters. In their time, they hunted large animal for their diet with tools from stone, deer antler, bone and wood. They were rather established in their lifestyle than entirely primal.
Homo Rudolfensis, the second species of early Homo, lived around 1.9 million to 1.8 million years ago. It was discovered by Leakey’s team at Lake Turkana (formerly Lake Rudolf), Kenya in 1972. Until now, this first fossil they found is the best sample of this Homo Rudolfensis. This specimen was labeled KNM-ER 1470. It is a prime evidence and material for research about this debatable to classifying this species. There’re not yet many Homo Rudolfensis fossils discovered. Though there are more materials from the Chiwondo Beds of Malawi and Olduvai Gorge to unlock more information. On the bright side, it gives quite the insight. We can ensure that the species spans from northern Kenya, Tanzania and Malawi.
To say that Homo Rudolfensis as a confusing species, you’re not alone. The scientist had a hard time to decide whether they should make Homo Rudolfensis a species or not. But, there is the guideline. Albeit so little to free you from the confusion. H. Rudolfensis differs strongly with others homo species on the braincase. Theirs are bigger than the Habilis albeit the same region or others in general. It might be that they are the rare genius and thinker of the million years ago, who knows? Homo Rudolfensis a unique homo species.
Do you have the title of ‘handy man’? If you have, it might be possible that the Homo Habilis is indeed your ancestor. Living from 2,4 to 1,4 million years ago during the Gelasian Pleistocene period, they are known as the handy homo species with crafty nature. The skill they had was honored by the scientist by giving them the title of handy man in 1964 to mark the first use of stone tools. Fossil and evidence of their living was found from eastern to western Africa. Between 1960 and 1963, a team of scientists Louis and Mary Leakey found the evidence. They also discovered the petrified remains of early humanoid species at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania. This species was at first presumed as the ancestor of Homo Erctus. Yet, Arecent discovery in 2000 from the same area. Two specimens of a Homo Habilis and a Homo Erectus exposed that there was another story to be unraveled.
Taken the specimens of KNM-ER 1813, OH 24, OH 8, three primary materials of Homo Habilis research, various things can be uncovered. In their key feature, our handy man from the stone ages still had the ape-like look. Long arms and prognathic face are the main example you can imagine. They have, however, a larger braincase which ranges from 550 cm to 687 cm. They also have smaller face and teeth. Though it didn’t make much of a difference. Still, it helped the scientist to differ them from the Australopithecus. From the teeth structures, their diet was very versatile, and they were flexible and versatile. It appeared that this species had a broad consumption of foods. Through their discovery, scientists formulated some foods possibly eaten by the Homo Habilis. They are leaves, woody plants, and some animal tissues. Yet, these craft from antiquity didn’t fancy the hard food such as brittle nuts and dried meat.
As specimens for this species are rich and resourceful. Their lifestyle isn’t as difficult as their seem-to-be twin Homo Rudolfensis. The remains of their tools and unused waste materials provided the scientists important clues of their lifestyle. For food, animal hunting was a choice. Then, the caught prey was brought to a special place where they would enjoy the food. Yetr, Homo Habilis didn’t go for a large prey. They often hunted for the small one and more regular in scavenging. To the consent of whether they lived nomad or no. That’s undecided matter, yet it is sure for this species to differ the place for dinner and their place to sleep. They’re seemingly advanced than other early Homo species in interaction. The fossils and remnants of Habilis support the sign of growing association in their communication.
If you have difficulty remembering the names of homo species, this one is unlikely. Do you know the Hobbit from Lord of the Ring? In real life, there is the homo species from Flores that height was no taller than one meter. Homo Floresiensis was, with affection and great curiosity, nicknamed the hobbit. The fossil was excavated in 2003 at Liang Bua cave by a joined team of researchers from Indonesia and Australia. It was identified to belong to a 30 years old woman weighed around 25 kg and her head is only 1/3 of normal modern human. At first sicentists belived this species come from 95,000 to 17,000 years ago. The recent update in Nature (March 2016) shows that Homo Floresiensis lived some years older. It was around 100,000 to 60,000 years ago.
The discovery of Homo Floresiensis is often regarded as incredible and impossible. The world of human evolution was in status quo. When Homo Floresiensis was brought on the surface, many found it hard to believe. Their unique body features made it hard to comprehend. Since fraud news was everywhere, this bizarre species of Humanoid raised up. There are plenty of theories floating around on why the Homo Floresiensis had a dwarf body. Yet, the limited specimens can’t help to answer the truth from thousands years ago. The primary proof of this Homo species is labeled LB1, an almost complete skull. There are also various skeletal remains from the different individuals. Many fossil remains of four other individuals confirm the existence of this species.
Hunting is predicted to be one of their lifestyles. Blades, points, flakes and perforators were found around the exact location at the remains of mini elephant Stegodon. The discovery led to a conclusion that Homo Floresiensis used to hunt the elephant for their living. There’s still more mystery in these tiny humanoid species. Yet, it is sure that they were one of that survival of the fittest.
Homo Erectus possibly won’t be so alien to any ear. After all, this species was issued and is reckoned as one of our predecessor since it shows a huge transformation from the former Homo species. They lived roughly 1,9 million to, according to the newest discovery, 143,000 years ago. What a great length of time! But, the disappeared of Homo Erectus in the middle of the ancient reminds unknown until now. There are still many questions for the scientists on the journey of evolution. From identified fossil remains, this humanoid species originally came from Africa. After that, they spread out to other sides of the world. Their trail was found throughout Georgia, China, India, and Java.
The first fossil of this Homini family was found by Eugène Dubois in 19th century. The discovery was located in Java when it was colonialized by Netherlands. Homo Erectus, also known as ‘upright man’, was possibly one of the tallest homo species in this list, it ranges from 1,5 meter to 1,8 meter and weighed around 80 lbs to 150 lbs. However, don’t take the standard for granted. Their physical features of height and weight differs in each part of the world. It depends to their surroundings. The categorized fossils of Homo Erectus, as an example, had a different structure from the one found in Indonesia. The original Homo Erectus from Africa had a sturdier body than those from Asia. In other features, the ape-like which attached in the former Homo species wasn’t in their features. Homo Erectus had particularly longer legs and shorter arms. In particular, their body size is the most similar to modern humans. The physical features suggest that they are already familiar with walking, running and climbing.
Although they’re also hunting, the lifestyle of Homo Erectus was improvised by food gathering. That they had a bigger built and brain, their body needed more supply of energy. Hunting was a good method for having their stomach filled. The energy used for hunting was utterly high and it would only exhaust them in the end of the day if they’re so unlucky. Thus, this species advanced their lifestyle to survive. Not only in the term of collecting food, Homo Erectus was generally smarter in their creation. They created more tools from different matter to ease their life.
Homo Erectus might be the famous Homo species to be called modern human ancestor. Homo Neanderthals apparently also had a strong similarity to modern humans today. They really resembled the modern human in the baby stage. Yet, it changed significantly when they’re getting older. Neanderthals in general had tougher body in their adulthood than the modern Homo does.
This species was discovered by a group of quarrymen in 1856. They found remains of a skeleton and, not knowing what to do, gave it to John Karl Fuhlrott, a teacher. The total of 16 bone remnants and a skull eventually had their way to scientist table. And surprise there, the scientists discovered that the bones linked to the ancient. Then it’s published to the publics which got more popular after Darwin put it into his book. Thus, an excavation around the Neader Valley was to find a further evidence for this species. At the end, there’s about 400 bones of this humanoid species discovered. It shows quite information of our prehistoric relatives.
The research suggested that Neanderthals strived ever since the Ice Age. They lived around 600,000 to 30,000 years ago and migrated from Africa to Europa and Asia. Their extinction was assumed to be the impact of climate. Neanderthals was a highly advanced human species. It became the earlier to show social engagement behaviors. From a discovery of an elderly Neanderthal skeleton, this human took a great case of their elderly or those who need help. For the communication, it is hardly a clue if language was already available to them. Nonetheless, many scientists deemed it possible with their brain capability. For food, Homo Naenderthals depended heavily on hunting and they were doing it with ambush techniques. Their prey was apparently mammoths or deer, the large animals. As much as it can be gathered, this species already used animal garment for their cover. While in tools and utensils, this species was familiar with glue and later pitch and they were master in creating their spears for hunting.
Get down to the number one, it is the well-known and believed ancestor to modern humans. Surely, if you’re against the evolution of human, such claim was only to sneer at. But, for the evolution lovers, this humanoid species is where the modern humans belong. Homo Sapiens means a wise man in which it also refers to the ability to think and understand, a gift that the other Homo species didn’t yet have. The label Homo Sapiens itself was made famous by Carolus Linnaeus. He was and is a famous biologist and a father of modern biological classification.
Other species are rather unfortunate to have so little evidence and material for their identities. They are plenty of fossils found for Homo sapiens. It’s more than enough to prove that Homo Sapiens is existed and undoubtedly our ancestor from the old world. The oldest fossils was found in Herto. A researcher from the University of California discovered bones of two adults and a child dated back to 160,00 to 40,000 years ago. And it has more fossils and remnants to confirm and reveal them than any humanoid species.
The lifestyle of early Homo Sapiens was not so different with the modern world. They evolved gradually and got better to fitting with the changes happening around them. This species already lived together in a group. They had control of fire. They hunted food and gathered. Eventually, they discovered how to harvest. Homo Sapiens evolved and accordingly each of their discoveries made a huge impact to the world we are living today.
Isn’t evolution wonderful? For you the young archeologists and knowledge seekers, what do you think? Our earth is a grand home for a lot of changes, a change that each brings something new and superb! There are still more stories of the old humanoid species under our feet. The discoveries are waiting to be found. Perhaps, you can stun the worlds with such new discoveries. Either way, the evolution happened throughout the history was a great deal. We shouldn’t forget nor take it for granted. Their history is for us to evolve to be better. Good day, my nerd fellows!
Tags: humanoid species