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The origin of the genus Homo in Africa signals the beginning of the shift from increasingly bipedal apes to primitive, large-brained, stone tool-making, meat-eaters that traveled far and wide. This early part of the human genus is represented by three species: Homo habilis, Homo rudolfensis, and Homo erectus. H. habilis is known for retaining primitive features that link it to australopiths and for being the first stone tool makers. Little is known about H. rudolfensis except that it had a relatively large brain and large teeth compared to H. habilis and that it overlapped in time and space with other early Homo. Our understanding of the paleobiology and evolution of the larger-brained H. erectus is enhanced due to its rich fossil record. H. erectus was the first obligate, fully committed biped, and with a body adapted for modern striding locomotion, it was also the first in the human lineage to disperse outside of Africa. The early members of the genus Homo are the first to tip the scale from the more apish side of our evolutionary history toward the more human one.
Dunsworth H. M. (2010). Origin of the genus Homo. Evolution: Education and Outreach, 3(3), 353-366.
Available at: http://www.dx.doi.org./10.1007/s12052-010-0247-8
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