beings have a long evolutionary history. The present day man is a
product of evolutionary changes in pre-human ancestors who were
arboreal in habit.
- Family Hominidae: Humans belong to the only living species of
this family, namely, Homo sapiens.
gave the name Homo sapiens to man.
ancestors of man and other related organisms are said to have
evolved around 24 million years ago.
common ancestry between great apes and man is based on similarities
in their DNA content, chromosome number and banding patterns of
study of fossils to determine the structure and evolution of
distinct animals and plants is called palaeontology.
- Parapithecus: 36-million-year-old fossil. It was unearthed
from a place called Fayum in Egypt.
- Ramapithecus: It was named so because it was found in the
Siwalik Hills of India in the year 1910. It is a
evidence shows that major changes in human evolution were with
reference to the skull, dentition, vertebral column, girdles and
- The different stages in the evolution of man are:
Important characteristics of Dryopithecus:
- It was the size of a rhesus monkey.
- The body was slender.
- The tail was absent.
- It had a relatively smaller head.
- The face showed projecting snout; prognathism (projecting
jaws) was not very prominent as in modern apes.
- It had 32 teeth like modern apes.
- The canines were smaller than in apes.
- Incisors were straight like that in Hominidae and not
slanting as in apes.
- The teeth were arranged in a U-shaped pattern, as in
- They lacked brow-ridge, which is one of the important
characteristics of apes.
- They had a comparatively well-developed brain.
- The thumb of Dryopithecus was comparatively longer than
- The pelvic girdle and vertebral column suggest that
Dryopithecus was not capable of walking erect. It probably was
Australopithecus is the earliest known Hominid.
Australopithecus is considered a connecting link between ape and
Early Australopithecus were of two types, namely A. ramidus and A.
- They were 1 to 1.5 metre in height.
- They were fully bipedal.
- Their snout was prognathous.
- The average size of the brain was 400 ml.
- They had parallel rows of teeth like those in apes.
- They had fairly large and sharp canines.
- The knee joint and femurs showed modifications for
There are three kinds of later Australopithecus namely:
- Australopithecus africanus, also
- Australopithecus robustus, also
called robust Australopithecus.
- Australopithecus boisei, also
called superrobust Australopithecus.
- They were comparatively small, i.e. 4.5 feet in height.
- The face was only slightly prognathous.
- They had less massive jaws.
- They were without sagittal crest (sagittal crest is a
bony ridge along the top of the skull running from front to back.
It is used for attachment of muscles).
- They are slender and hence called gracile.
- They were comparatively larger, i.e. 5 feet.
- The face was even less prognathous compared to the A.
- They had heavy jaws.
- They had a sagittal crest.
- They had reduced incisor and canine teeth.
- They were robust or tough and hence called A. robustus.
- They were very robust, and hence the name.
- Rest of the features were the same as A.
- Cheek teeth were not as large. Proportionate size of
cheek teeth and front teeth were similar to human beings.
- Like humans, premolar and molar teeth had different
- Cranial capacity was estimated to be 650 ml.
- Feet bones were human-like.
Homo erectus is called the first true man. It is also called the
African ape-man or Java man. Homo erectus is the descendent of
- The height of Homo erectus was between
1.5 to 1.8 metre (5-6 feet).
- Homo erectus had flat sloping forehead, which ended in
prominent brow ridges.
- They had a flat face with modern dentition.
- Homo erectus had protruding jaws.
- The jaws and teeth were more massive compared to humans
and there was no chin.
- The brain of Homo erectus was larger than
- The cranium was much flattened on top.
- The cranial volume ranged between 800 and 1,200 ml. (i.e.
about 900 ml).
- Homo erectus had thick muscular body.
- Homo erectus had thin skin and lesser hair.
- Homo erectus was bipedal.
- The vocal organs had the ability to produce complex
- Homo erectus possessed the power to speak (like a modern
child) and communicate.
- In Homo erectus, the males used to hunt animals, while
females gathered food and looked after their young ones.
- Homo erectus used fire for cooking and warmth.
- Homo erectus used stone tools for hunting. They were
- Homo erectus was a fairly intelligent and socially
- In addition to caves, crudely made huts were used for
Homo Sapiens neanderthalensis is also called the Neanderthal man.
1. The maximum
height of Neanderthal man was about 170 cm (5.5 feet). The female was
shorter than the male.
2. Body and limbs
of Neanderthal man were heavy and bulky.
3. The typical
features of Neanderthal man were low and long skull, sloping forehead and
prominent brow ridge.
4. The Neanderthal
man had protruding jaws.
5. The mandible was
absent in Neanderthal man and he either had a small chin or no chin at
6. Feet of
Neanderthal man were broader than modern humans.
7. The knee of
Neanderthal man was slightly bent and hence he walked with a stooping
8. The Neanderthal
man was bipedal. He had long arms and short legs.
9. Homo with a
cranial capacity of over 1,200 ml is considered to belong to Sapiens
species. The average brain size of Neanderthal man was 1,300 ml.
10. The Neanderthal
man used more refined stone tools. They obtained flakes by splitting
stones into thin layers.
11. They were good
hunters and mainly killed animals by spearing with their favourite spear
made of wood.
12. Since the
Neanderthal man lived in ice age, they covered themselves with crudely
stitched animal hides clothing.
13. They had better
language compared to Homo erectus. However, the vocal apparatus was not
as well-developed as that in modern man.
14. The Neanderthal
man could be performing religious ceremonies during the burial of their
dead ones in caves. This was interpreted from the discovery of fossilised
pollen grains, suggesting that they offered flowers to the dead bodies.
- Homo Sapiens Sapiens
sapiens sapiens is the modern man.
Main Characteristics of Homo Sapiens Sapiens:
- The Homo sapiens sapiens are 5-6 feet tall
(average 5.5 feet or 170 cm).
- The Homo sapiens sapiens have round head,
vertical forehead and a distinct chin.
- The Homo sapiens sapiens have a well-developed
brain and enlarged cranium. The cranial capacity is 1,350 ml. The
cranium became rounded partly because the brain was pushed up from
below due to the increase in the size of pharynx and nasal
- The larynx or the voice box of the Homo sapiens
sapiens is larger.
- The Homo sapiens sapiens have proportionate
eyes and prominent nose and chin.
- They have better speaking ability, which has helped them
- The lower limbs of the Homo sapiens sapiens are
well adapted for upright posture and bipedal walking.
- The Homo sapiens sapiens are very good at
- The Homo sapiens sapiens have domesticated
animals and have number of cultural practices.
- The Homo sapiens sapiens have made progress in
the fields of science and technology, which has helped them have a