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Australopithecus afarensis, an extinct hominid that lived in eastern Africa between about 3.9 & 2.9 million yrs ago

Diorama at the American Museum of Natural History (with Helioceras in the foreground).

Old photos from American Museum of Natural History

Humans are just the latest in a long line of hominid species that have emerged in the past six million years.

Human Evolution (a likely model)

A New View of Evolution by sciencemag: This is a 1.77-million-year-old complete adult skull (braincase volume: 546 cubic centimeters) of early Homo from the site of Dmanisi, Georgia. Together with the fossilized bones of four additional individuals discovered in close proximity, the skull indicates that populations of early Homo comprised a wider range of morphological variation than traditionally assumed, which implies a single evolving lineage... #Science #Human_Evolution

What Makes Humans Special? by scientificamerican: HALLMARK TRAITS of the human body did not all arise anew in our species. Instead they emerged piecemeal in our forebears over millions of years. Many of these traits seem to have helped support two defining trends in our evolution: upright locomotion and tool use. #Infographic #Human_Body #Evolution

Anthropologists say that a 1.8-million-year-old hominid skull unearthed in the Republic of Georgia shows that Homo habilis, Homo erectus, and Homo rudolfensis were all variations of a single species.

Homo neanderthalensis dates back only 28,000 to 200,000 years ago. It is not an ancestor of humans but a separate hominid species that lived simultaneously with humans for a while before extinction. Some scientists believe the 2 hominid species may have interbred. Evidence shows that Neanderthals may have dug graves for their dead, which marks the first of the hominids to do so.

Fossils from Northern Kenya show that a new species of human lived two million years ago, researchers say. Anthropologists have discovered three human fossils that are between 1.78 and 1.95 million years old. The specimens are of a face and two jawbones with teeth.