Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

Fossil Records of Early African Homo

  • Kes Schroer
  • Chrisandra Kufeldt
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_645

Introduction

Molecular and paleontological evidence suggests that modern humans first originated in Africa as early as 250,000 years ago. However, fossil remains in Eurasia dating to at least 1.8 mya (million years ago) suggest that some of our ancient relatives had already migrated out of Africa by the time modern humans emerged. Thus, the peopling of the world does not begin with modern humans. Rather, the fossil record suggests a long history of previous occupations in Africa and Eurasia.

In this review, we discuss the nearest fossil relatives of modern humans. The fossil species we review include the early members of the genus Homo, a group within the broader category of “hominins” (all primate species more closely related to modern humans than to any other living taxon). Early Homo likely shared its environment with non-Homo hominins such as Paranthropus, a taxon with a suite of morphological features distinct from the derived characteristics of the genus Homo. When we speak of...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for the Advanced Study of Hominid PaleobiologyThe George Washington UniversityWashingtonUSA