Homo habilis: The first human species
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Homo habilis is the earliest known species of the genus Homo; that is, the first human species. It existed from approximately 2.2 to 1.6 million years ago in east Africa.

Only a few fossil remains have been discovered so far, but these specimens exhibit a clear trend toward larger brain size. H. habilis brains are about 30% larger than those of A. africanus. Males were much larger than females, as shown by the two skulls at far right. The male is pictured on the left. Sexual dimorphism in early Hominid species expressed itself in significant size differences.

The reconstructed skull pictured above was found in 1972 on the shores of Lake Turkana and represents the oldest individual human yet discovered. The background of the photo shows the kind of environment in which this earliest-known human species lived--open bush and savannah country in east Africa. This must must have been a very challenging environment, filled with large predators.


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