· ‘T.H. Huxley’ made the first attempt to explain the origin of man on a scientific basis in his book ‘Man’s Place in the Nature’ (1863AD).
· ‘Charles Darwin’ published his views on man’s ancestry in the book ‘Descent of Man’ (1871AD).
· Linnaeus gave the scientific name Homo sapiens to man.
· Lucretius called men ‘Babies born out of the womb of the earth’.
· Mammals originated from Therapsid reptiles in the Triassic period of the Mesozoic era about 250 million years ago. Its teeth, limbs and other skeletal features resembled those of present mammals.
· First primitive mammal was an egg-laying prototherian that originated from synapsid reptiles in the Cretaceous period of the Mesozoic era.
· Lemurs were the first primates to evolve. Primates appeared in the Paleocene epoch of the tertiary period of the Cenozoic era about 65 million years ago from the small terrestrial shrew-like insectivores, a stock from which other types of existing mammals also arose.
· Certain insectivores started living in trees. They had long tails and were squirrel-like. They gave rise to prosimians. Among them, tarsiers may have been ancestral to the simians (monkeys, apes and men).
· In Oligocene, two divergent evolutionary lines originated from tarsoid ancestors, one line to the evolution of new world monkeys and the other to the evolution of old world monkeys, apes and man. New world monkeys separated from the mainline before the evolution of anthropoids and old world monkeys before the evolution of hominids.

Order primate includes 2 sub-orders:
  • Prosimian &
  • Anthropoids
1. Prosimians- Lemurs, lorises and tarsiers, 60 million years ago
2. Anthropoids-The common ancestors of old world monkeys, apes and man. [Indian Embassy 2001]
a. New world monkeys (Platyrrhini) possess a flat nose with widely separated nostrils, prehensile tails, non- opposable thumbs and clawed digits.
· Found in South America e.g. Howler and spider monkey.
b. Old world monkeys (Catarrhini) possess a narrow nose, short and non-prehensile tail, opposable thumbs and nailed digits.
· Found in Africa and Asia e.g. baboon, Langur, Rhesus monkey.
c. Hominids (originated during Pliocene epoch): Apes and man

Four types of apes surviving till today are; the Gibbon and Orangutan are found in Asia, the Gorilla and the Chimpanzee inhabit Africa.

· The Gibbon is the smallest of the apes (5.5-11 kg) and the Gorilla, the largest of the apes (180 kg).
· The closest relative of the man is considered to be Chimpanzee.
· Common origin of man and chimpanzee is best shown by chromosome number and banding pattern.
· Similarities between apes and man are: no tail, larger head, long neck and limbs, broadened chest, large brain and cranial capacity, prominent brow ridges, the capacity of communication, facial expression and live in pairs, menstruation in females.

Differences between Apes and Man
1Less erect posture1Fully erect posture
2Very prominent brow ridges, coarse hair2Not so prominent brow ridges, sparse hair
3Herbivorous, quadripedal locomotion, arboreal3Omnivorous, bipedal locomotion, terrestrial
4Protruded jaws, the sole of the feet does not lie flat on the ground while walking4Not protruded jaws, the sole of the feet lies flat on the ground while walking
5Diastema present, small cranium (450 cc)5Diastema absent, large cranium (1450 cc)
6Short neck, arms are longer, 1 curve in the vertebral column, not able to make and employ tools, use of spoken and written language to communicate6Long neck, legs are longer, 4 curves in the vertebral column, able to make and employ tools, use of spoken and written language to communicate

· Pedigree of human evolution is still incomplete.
· Anthropoids are the common ancestors of the old world monkeys, apes and man. 36 million years ago [Indian Embassy 2001]
· The hominids (Proconsul and Dryopithecus) were the ancestors of modern apes and man. They originated about 24 million years ago.
· Gibbons, Orangutans, Ancestors of Gorilla and Chimpanzee, Gorilla and Chimpanzee were separated about 10, 8, 4, 2.3 million years ago respectively.

1) Proconsul

· P. africanus, fossils excavated by L.S.B. Leakey (1930 AD) from rocks around Lake Victoria of Kenya (Africa).
· Early Miocene epoch.
· Forehead was like a man and canine teeth like that of ape. [Morphologically intermediate between apes and man.]
· Moved on land on all four limbs so not considered as a direct ancestor of man.
2) Dryopithecus
· Dryopithecus africanus, fossils discovered from middle Miocene to early Pliocene rocks of Africa and Europe.
· 20-25 million years ago, ape-like.
· Semi-erect, ancestor of man and great apes (Orangutan, Gorilla and Chimpanzee).
3) Shivapithecus
· Fossil discovered from middle and late Pliocene rocks of Shivalik Hills of India.
· Forelimbs, brains and skulls were like monkeys and faces, jaws and teeth like apes.
4) Ramapithecus [14-15 million years ago]
· Fossils excavated by G. Edward Lewis (1930 AD) from Pliocene rocks of Shivalik Hills of India.
· Oldest direct ancestor of the man known at present
· Arboreal, upright posture
· Teeth found in Dang, kept in Natural History Museum, Kathmandu, also in Butwal
· Ape-like man

1) Australopithecus [5 million years ago]
· Pliocene and Pleistocene rocks of Africa.
· First stood erect and showed bipedal locomotion.
· First ape-man.
· Cranial capacity 500CC.
· Raymond Dart (1924 AD) discovered the fossil (skull) of a 5-6-year-old baby, near Tuang in Africa so Australopithecus africanus is also called Tuang baby. It was carnivorous. It gave rise to Homo habilis.
· Donald Johanson (1981 AD) discovered A.afarensis (Lucy). It was herbivorous.
· Other species of Australopithecus were A. robustus, A. boisei (both ended blindly), A. ramidus and A. aethiopicus.

2) Homo habilis [2 million years ago]
· Toolmaker or handyman or Nut-cracker fossil man.
· Pleistocene epoch, Mary Leakey and L.S.B. Leakey (1960 AD) discovered its fossils from East Africa.
· Used first tools of stones extensively (Toolmaker), heaps of tools were found with their fossils (Handyman).
· Cranial capacity 700CC.
· Bipedal locomotion, moved erect.
· First probable fossil man.

3) Homo erectus [1.7 million years ago]
· Erect man.
· Middle Pleistocene.
· Protruding jaws, large brow ridges, flat face, flattened skull.

a) Home erectus erectus (Mayer 1950AD) or Pithecanthropus erectus [Eugene Dubois (1891 AD), Pleistocene rocks in Central Java (Island of Indonesia), [17 lakh years ago], [MOE 2009 Ashad]
· Java ape-man.
· Used fire first for hunting, cooking and defence.
· Cranial capacity 900 CC
· Skull flat, legs long and strong.

b) Homo erectus pekinensis (Mayer 1950 AD) or Sinanthropus pekinensis [Sinanthropus -W.C. Pei 1924AD; near Peking, S. pekinensis - Davidson Black (1927AD); near Peking (Beijing), China].
· Peking man.
· Pleistocene epoch.
· First to have the omnivorous habit.
· Used sharp tools for killing, cutting up animals and defence.
· Cranial capacity 900 -1200 CC

c) Homo erectus heidelbergensis
· Heidelberg man.
· Middle Pleistocene, Germany.
· Cranial capacity 1300CC (Intermediate between Pithecanthropines and neanderthals),
· Jaw with teeth, teeth were human-like.

1) Homo sapiens neanderthalensis [1 lakh years ago]
· Neanderthal man.
· Neander valley of Germany from the late Pleistocene epoch by C. Fuhlrott (1856 AD).
· Skull massive, broad nose, slightly prognathous face.
· Developed social life, religion, culture and division of labour.
· Buried dead bodies with ceremonies.
· Believed in the immortality of the soul.
· Used animal’s skin for clothing.
· First lived in caves.
· Cranial capacity 1300-1600CC (nearest cranial capacity with modern man)
· Not only hunters but also true predators, also cannibals

2) Homo sapiens fossilis [Appeared-34000 years ago, became extinct -10000 years ago]
· Cro-magnon man
 or fossil man
· Holocene epoch, fossils discovered from Cro-magnon rocks of France by Mac Gregor (1868 AD).
· Narrow skull, broad face, prominent chin, orthognathous face.
· Highest cranial capacity i.e. 1650CC.
· Expert in colour paintings in caves and rocks [BPKIHS 2009, MBBS 2007]
· Skeleton indistinguishable from that of modern man.
· Immediate and direct ancestor of modern man [MOE 067]
· No idea about agriculture and domesticating animals.
· Omnivorous

3) Homo sapiens sapiens '[Linnaeus]’ [Appeared 25000 years ago, started spreading 10000 years ago]
· Modern man, the man of today, a wise man (sapiens= Wise).
· Erect posture, bipedalism; CASPIAN AND MEDITERRANEAN SEAS.
· Backbone vertical (formation of 4 flexors), basin-shaped pelvic girdle.
· Change in diet from hard to soft type changed dentition.
· Speech development, ability to learn, share experiences.
· Facial expression and language.
· Developed ideas about agriculture and domesticating animals.
· Cranial capacity (1300-1600CC) -average 1450CC.
· Social and cultural awareness.
· A good sense of civilization.

· Modern man migrated into 3 different directions. Those who migrated to the west; east and south are called white, mongoloid and negroid (black) races respectively [WES-WMB].
· According to American Anthropologist Dr Sapiro, the present man is likely to change into a man of the future- Homo sapiens futuralis- with a taller, hairless body, tomb-like head, larger brain and without fifth toe.

Previous Post Next Post

Main Tags