Homo Habilis




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Lucy Upright

Australopithecus Afarensis, Lucy, Uganda, Mitochondria DNA

Habilus Skull Side

It is a well known fact that life originated in the continent of Africa, and the oldest strain of mitochondria DNA originated in Uganda.


This strain of DNA is shared by females only, and it is traced back to the first female whose origin happens to be African. She is known to scientists as Mitochondria Eve. Genetic Eve from who we all originated lived in East Africa around the rift valley 3.2million years old according to Dr M & A Leakey; Argon Dating an improvement from Carbon Dating. It's no coincidence that the oldest fossils are found in Africa. Pre Zinjanthropus and Zinjanthropus Homo Habilis, (Tanganyika, East Africa July 17th 1959), unearthed by Dr M & L Leakey in Olduvai Gorge.




Old World Map

They were among the tool-making hominids. Man's most possible prehistoric ancestor to date. Rated at 1.8 million years old by the University of California new potassium-argon method test.


The specimen that led to the naming of this species (OH 7) was discovered in 1960, by the Leakey team in Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. Louis Leakey was convinced that this was the Olduvai toolmaker he had spent his life looking for, and placed this as a direct human ancestor, with Homo Erectus a dead-end side-branch.


In addition, Homo erectus (which is almost universally accepted as a direct human ancestor) continues to be pushed further back into the pale ontological record, making it possible that it is the first Homo ancestor of modern humans.


The specimen was subjected to intense study by the multidisciplinary team of Louis Leakey, John Napier, and Phillip Tobias.


They placed the material as different from pen contemporary australopithecines due to the teeth, which fell outside the known range of Australopithecine Africanus, with very large incisors. It is mainly formed of lava flows, volcanic-ash deposits and other sediments. The upper part of the bed contains varied fauna and evidence of the Olduwan industry. Skeletal remains of hominids are assigned to the Homo habilis an Australopithecus Boisei family. Campsites and what is believed to be a butchery site have also been excavated from this bed.


Bed I, Bed II, Bed III, Bed IV, the Masek Beds, the Ndutu Beds, and Baisiusiu Beds. Bed I dates to 2,100,000 years old and is 197 feet thick. Also a loosely built circle of lava blocks was found, suggesting that crude shelters were formed here as well.The living sites in Beds II-IV are normally found in what would have been river and stream channels. Therefore, many of the sites were displaced by water action.

Lucy's Leg
Zinjanthropus Tools Found In Olduvai Gorge
Olduvai Skeletons

Bed II is 66-98 feet thick and is 1,150,000 to 1,700,000 years old. It has two main divisions of rock layer, upper and lower, that were separated by an erosion break. The lower part of Bed II is similar to Bed I. The upper part was formed after fault shifts had reduced the ancient lakes size.It is in this part of Bed II that the development of the Acheulian industry starts to show. Here also are the remains of Homo habilis, Homo erectus and Australopithecus Boisei. The Hominid living sites in Bed I are found mainly where streams from the volcanic highlands carried fresh water to Olduvai Lake.

Lucy and Co dental structures.
Homo Erectus
Dr Mary Leaky
Zinjanthropus Boisie
Lucy's Pelvis

The condition for the preservation of the sites is mainly due to the ash falls from the nearby volcanoes and the inconsistency of the lake's depth. The debris found at the sites is various Olduwan tools, bone and teeth from animals, mainly from fair sized antelopes. While Homo habilis is a generally accepted species, they opinion that it was a direct human ancestor seems to be in question. There are now at least two species of early Homo (whether habilis and rudolfensis or an undescribed species) living prior to 2,000000 BCE.


Also, the large brain size and shape of the hand suggested a closer affinity with Homo. In January 1964, the team announced the new species Homo habilis.

Olduvai Gorge


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Lucy's Skull


Raymond Dart, and means "handy man," in reference to this hominids supposed tool-making prowess, suggested the name. Leakey believed that Habilis was a direct human ancestor, with erectus out of the picture.


Lucy's Pelvis


These artifacts were nicknamed "Zinj". Zinj is the word that Arabs use to refer to Blacks as Negroes or Zanzibar. The skull, found in 1959 By Louis and Mary Leakey is said to be 3.2 million years old. It's no coincidence that the oldest fossils are found in Africa.




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