Homo Habilis Facts

Homo Habilis Facts
Homo habilis was an early human species that existed between 2.8 and 1.5 million years ago. They were a species of the Hominini - a tribe that existed during the Pleistocene period. The first fossils of Homo habilis were uncovered in the 1950s in Tanzania when scientists discovered their remains at Olduvai Gorge and gave them the name Homo habilis, meaning handy man, because it was believed that they were responsible for making many of the tools found at Olduvai Gorge. Debate exists as to whether the species is of the genus Homo or Australopithecus, due to the size of the brain and body, teeth, and other features.
Interesting Homo Habilis Facts:
The Homo habilis' brain ranged in size from 550 cm cubed to 687 cm cubed. This brain size was about 50% bigger than the genus Australopithecus. This was also much smaller than the Homo sapien brain size of 1350 cm cubed to 1450 cm cubed. This is one of the factors contributing to the debate about the Homo hibilis genus.
The Homo habilis were only on average 4 feet 3 inches tall, which is much shorter than the average human height.
The scientists that found the first evidence of Homo habilis were husband and wife team Louis Leakey and Mary Leakey. Their first discovery was that of 'milk teeth' in 1955, and then in 1959 Mary Leakey found a young adult cranium.
The young adult cranium discovered by Mary Leakey had small canines and large chewing teeth. The cranium was nicknamed 'The Nutcracker Man'.
In 1968 fossil OH 24 was discovered at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania. Its nickname is 'Twiggy' and it is a 1.8 million year old cranium.
In 1986 Donald Johanson and Tim White found Homo habilis remains at Olduvai Gorge. These remains included lower and upper limbs. This fossil is named OH 62.
Additional Homo habilis fossils have been discovered including KNM ER 1813 in Kenya in 1973 (1.9 million year old cranium); OH 7 at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania in 1960 (1.7 million year old lower jaw with teeth, and left hand fragments); and KNM ER 1805 in Kenya in 1974 (1.74 million year old adult cranium pieces).
The term 'handy man' is derived from Homo habilis, who are believed to be the first of the genus 'Homo' (true humans) to exist, and the first to use handmade tools for survival.
The tools made by the Homo habilis were made from volcanic rock cobbles. It is believed that the tools were used for scavenging as opens to being used as weapons.
This ability to make and use tools for survival is what characterizes the species Homo habilis as humans, different from primates.
It is believed that the beginnings of what we think of as 'home' began during the time of the Homo habilis. Because the children of this species would not have been able to cling, as primate babies do, to their mothers, they would have had to remain in a 'home' of sorts, while the adults went in search of food. This was an evolutionary change of early Homo species.
Debate continues as to the true genus of the Homo habilis. Agreement as to species' specific traits is not yet established.


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