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Earliest Hominids

Papers
  1. -Key Link in Human Evolution? (Time.com)
      "Evolution skeptics like to trot out the argument that if Darwin had been right, scientists would have discovered transitional fossils by now — creatures with a mix of features from earlier and later species. Since they haven't, the deniers say, evolution must not be true."

      "The truth is that paleontologists have found transitional species by the score, from many different time periods. But none have materialized from as crucial a point in our evolutionary past as a pair of skeletons whose discovery was announced today by the journal Science."

      "The fossils, which have been determined to be a new species, Australopithecus sediba, were initially found by Matthew Berger, the 9-year-old son of paleontologist Lee Berger of South Africa's University of the Witwatersrand (the elder Berger tried in vain to get the editors of Science to list Matthew as a co-author on the paper). The bones belong to a pre-teenage boy and a woman estimated to be in her late 20s or early 30s; the individuals died at about the same time, and before their remains had fully decomposed, they were entombed in an avalanche of sediment and nearly perfectly preserved deep in the Malapa cave north of Johannesburg, South Africa." 04-10

  2. 400,000-Year-Old DNA discovered in Spain (NBC News)
      "The oldest human DNA ever recovered is throwing scientists for a loop: The 400,000-year-old genetic material comes from bones that have been linked to Neanderthals in Spain — but its signature is most similar to that of a different ancient human population from Siberia, known as the Denisovans."

      " 'Ancient DNA sequencing techniques have become sensitive enough to warrant further investigation of DNA survival at sites where Middle Pleistocene hominins are found,' the research team, led by Matthias Meyer and Svante Pääbo of Germany's Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, wrote in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature. ('Hominin' is the currently accepted term for humans and our close evolutionary cousins.) 12-13

  3. Comparison of Skulls (TalkOrigins.org)
      "As this table shows, although creationists are adamant that none of these [skulls] are transitional and all are either apes or humans, they are not able to tell which are which."

      "But according to evolutionary thinking, these fossils come from a number of closely related species intermediate between apes and humans. If this is so, we would expect to find that some of them are hard to classify, and we do." 03-06

  4. Cranial Capacity (Wikipedia.org)
      "Cranial capacity is a measure of the volume of the interior of the cranium (also called the braincase or brainpan) of those vertebrates who have both a cranium and a brain." Compares cranial capacity of different hominids, including humans. Neanderthals appear to have had the largest brains among the hominids. 03-06

  5. DNA May Trace Hominids Back 5 Million Years (BBC News)
      "New technologies may soon allow scientists to identify some of the genes of humankind's oldest ancestors."

      "This raises the possibility of plotting the evolutionary tree of humanity from five million years ago to the present."

      "Professor Hendrik Poinar says DNA fragments should be recoverable from fossils that are a million years old, and proteins from even older times."

      Editor's Note: Fossils found since this article was written indicate that hominids reach back at least 6.5 to 7 million years. 6-04

  6. Hominids (Wikipedia.org)
      "Hominid is any member of the biological family Hominidae (the 'great apes'), including humans, chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans." Provides definitions of the confusingly similar terms: Hominidae, hominine, Homininae, hominin, Hominini, hominan, and Hominina. 03-06

  7. Hominids Timeline (TalkOrigins.org) star
      Provides a timeline and a description of known hominids, including modern humans. 03-06

  8. Homo Genus or Humans (Wikipedia.org)
      "Homo is the genus that includes modern humans and their close relatives. The genus is estimated to be between 1.5 and 2.5 million years old. All species except Homo sapiens are extinct." Homo sapiens sapiens is the only subspecies of Homo sapiens known to have survived as current humans. See Homo sapiens sapiens for information on the evolution of current humans. 06-03

  9. Missing Link Found Between Australopithecus afarensis and Earlier Species (New York Times)
      "Tim D. White, a paleontologist at the University of California, Berkeley, who was a team leader, and his colleagues said the 4.1-million-year-old fossils were anatomically intermediate between the earlier species Ardipithecus ramidus [the earliest Hominids] and the later species Australopithecus afarensis, the Lucy family. The newfound bones and teeth are the earliest remains of the most primitive Australopithecus, known as anamensis."

      "The Australopithecus genus — resembling apes in stature and brain size but unlike the great apes in that it walked on two legs — is thought to have given rise to our own genus, Homo."

  10. Missing Link Found Between Australopithecus afarensis and Earlier Species (New York Times)
      "Tim D. White, a paleontologist at the University of California, Berkeley, who was a team leader, and his colleagues said the 4.1-million-year-old fossils were anatomically intermediate between the earlier species Ardipithecus ramidus [the earliest Hominids] and the later species Australopithecus afarensis, the Lucy family. The newfound bones and teeth are the earliest remains of the most primitive Australopithecus, known as anamensis."

      "The Australopithecus genus — resembling apes in stature and brain size but unlike the great apes in that it walked on two legs — is thought to have given rise to our own genus, Homo."

  11. Oldest Hominid - Sahelanthropus Tchadensis? (Wikipedia.org)
      "Sahelanthropus tchadensis is a fossil hominid that lived approximately 7 million years ago. Its position in the Hominid evolution is not widely accepted." 11-09

  12. Oldest Hominids - Sahelanthropus Tchadensis (CNN - Walton)
      "A team of researchers in central Africa say they've uncovered what appears to be the earliest evidence of the human family ever found -- a skull, jawbone and teeth between 6 million and 7 million years old." "Chadian authorities are nicknaming the specimen 'Toumai,' a name usually given to babies born before the dry season in the region." The name of this earliest hominid is S. tchadensis.

  13. Oldest Hominids - Sahelanthropus Tchadensis (Wikipedia.org)
      "Sahelanthropus tchadensis is a fossil hominin classified as the oldest possible member of the human family tree, thought to have lived between approximately 7 and 6 million years ago in the Miocene."

      Provides a chart of hominids, including humans, at the bottom of the page. 03-06

  14. Second Oldest Hominids - Orrorin Tugenensis (Wikipedia.org)
      "Orrorin tugenensis is considered as the second oldest possible hominin ancestor related to modern humans (other than Sahelanthropus tchadensis) and is the only species classified in genus Orrorin. The name was given by the discoverers who found Orrorin fossils near the village of Tugen, Kenya."

      Provides a chart of hominids, including humans, at the bottom of the page. 03-06

  15. Second Oldest Hominids - Six Million Years Old (PBS)
      Discusses the oldest hominid fossil, Orrorin tugenensis, discovered by Martin Pickford and Brigitte Senut and their colleagues. "Orrorin has created incredible debate, but what else could we expect from a candidate for our earliest ancestor, the first human?" 5-02

  16. Second Oldest Hominids - Six Million Years Old (Time - Robinson)
      Discusses the oldest hominid fossil, Orrorin tugenensis. "Indeed, suggests Haile-Selassie, while Orrorin may be one of the earliest chimps or an ape that became extinct, it could also turn out to be the last common ancestor of humans and chimps—a creature paleontologists have been dreaming of finding for decades." 5-02

  17. Third Oldest Hominid - Ardipithecus Ramidus (Foley)
      Provides a paragraph. Ramidus lived 4 - 5 million years ago and may be a link in human evolution.

  18. Third Oldest Hominid - Ardipithecus Ramidus (PBS)
      Provides a drawing and a paragraph. Also provides a timeline on human evolution. Ramidus lived 4 - 5 million years ago and may be a link in human evolution.

  19. Third Oldest Hominid - Ardipithecus Ramidus (Wikipedia.org)
      "Ardipithecus is a very early hominin genus (subfamily Homininae). Because it shares several traits with the African great apes (genus Pan and genus Gorilla), it is considered by some to be on the chimpanzee rather than human branch, but most consider it a proto-human because of a likeness in teeth with Australopithecus. A. ramidus lived about 5.4 and 4.2 million years ago during the early Pliocene."

      Provides a chart of hominids, including humans, at the bottom of the page. 03-06


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