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The field of science which studies the human fossil record is known as paleoanthropology.It is the intersection of the disciplines of paleontology (the study of ancient lifeforms) and anthropology (the study of humans).Crash Course in Jewish History is not only comprehensive and readable, it is also entertaining and enlightening.Sahelanthropus tchadensis Orrorin tugenensis Ardipithecus ramidus Australopithecus anamensis Australopithecus afarensis Kenyanthropus platyops Australopithecus africanus Australopithecus garhi Australopithecus sediba Australopithecus aethiopicus Australopithecus robustus Australopithecus boisei Homo habilis Homo georgicus Homo erectus Homo ergaster Homo antecessor Homo heidelbergensis Homo neanderthalensis Homo floresiensis Homo sapiens sapiens Some scientists use a broader definition of Hominidae which includes the great apes, and instead call the group I am discussing "hominins".1994; Wood 1994) from some fragmentary fossils dated at 4.4 million years.A more complete skull and partial skeleton was discovered in late 1994 and based on that fossil, the species was reallocated to the genus Ardipithecus (White et al. This fossil was extremely fragile, and excavation, restoration and analysis of it took 15 years.Later fossil finds indicated that Ramapithecus was more closely related to the orang-utan, and new biochemical evidence indicated that the last common ancestor of hominids and apes occurred between 5 and 10 million years ago, and probably in the lower end of that range (Lewin 1987).Ramapithecus therefore is no longer considered a hominid.
Although the hominid fossil record is far from complete, and the evidence is often fragmentary, there is enough to give a good outline of the evolutionary history of humans.
The species here are listed roughly in order of appearance in the fossil record (note that this ordering is not meant to represent an evolutionary sequence), except that the robust australopithecines are kept together. Australopithecus, Homo) which is always capitalized, and a specific name (e.g. Within the text, genus names are often omitted for brevity.
Each species has a type specimen which was used to define it.
The teeth and jaws are very similar to those of older fossil apes.
A partial tibia (the larger of the two lower leg bones) is strong evidence of bipedality, and a lower humerus (the upper arm bone) is extremely humanlike.