Africa: Human Evolution
Through the many archeological finds in the continent,
scientists now believe that humanity first originated in Africa.
Among the earliest forms of prehistoric primates is a creature
called Proconsul, which was found in a geological fault dating 25
million years. The question on many scientists' minds was if this
was from where man originated: the primate, Proconsul, had a larger
brain than any other proceeding primates.
One of the first known clues to this question of where man
originated came from fossils found in the Afar depression in
Ethiopia in the early 1970's.
The star of this find was a skeleton, 40 percent complete,
widely known as "Lucy". So why was Lucy so important? Well, she was
considered by scientists to be man's earliest known ancestor- she
was estimated to be 3.2 million years old. And the skeleton was
complete enough to give scientists a good idea on how Lucy may have
looked 3.2 million years ago, and possibly how she
The first humans are generally called Homo habilis or "handy
man". The first fossil remains of this "handy man" were found
scattered among animal bones in Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania on May
1960. Primitive tools found along with the fossils lead scientists
to believe these were tool makers, hense the term habilis. These
fossils at Olduvai Gorge date from 1.7 million years ago. 1 2 3