Homo Habilis, Best Known as the Handy Man Essay examples

Homo Habilis, Best Known as the Handy Man Essay examples

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Homo habilis, best known as the “handy man” is one of the first species to diverge to the genera Homo. The increased cranial sizes (cranial capacity averaged about 610 cc) accompanied with the complexity and facial reduction (Poirer, 2005) are two characteristics, which first appear in Homo habilis and are unique from previous genera such as Australopithecus. Remains found of Homo habilis are typically found from the late Pliocene, 1.7-2.5 million years ago (2005) and include OH 62.

OH 62, Homo habilis, is a fossil, which dates to 1.8 million years ago, founded by Tim White in 1986 at the Olduvai Gorge site in Tanzania (Johanson, 1996; Ruff 2009; Walker, 1993). Olduvai Gorge has been a site popular for the findings of not only Australopithecus species remains, but also the remains of Hominin species. At the site, 302 pieces of fragmented bone were found of both cranial and post-cranial remains and are the first remains found where both upper and lower limb fragments of Homo habilis are associated to one individual (Ash, 2011; Dunsworth 2002; Johanson, 1996; Ruff 2009; Walker, 1993). By piecing together 32 parts of the found bone, the maxilla began to represent Homo habilis, with more gracile and orthognathic features (when compared to Australopithecus) and maintained more alveolar prognathism (Poirer, 2005) when compared to modern humans.

While the upper jaw appeared to represent a Homo habilis fossil, the left over bone fragments began a debate of which taxonomic group OH 62 belonged to. At the site, portions of the skull, the proximal half of the left femoral shaft and neck were found, as well as a small proximal portion of the right tibia, most of the right humeral shaft, right radial shaft, and most of the ulna (Ash, ...

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...e the known long length of the arms compared to the legs, it can be assumed that OH 62 was still capable of arboreal living, and continued to forage in trees. Through this behavior, it can be assumed that OH 62 continued to forage in trees as a way to gather food, as well as protect themselves from other predators (Line, 2005; Poirer, 2005; Wood, 1999).

OH 62 is a significant finding and addition to the fossil record, supporting the understanding of human evolution, and the beginning of the Hominin divergence. Not only does the limb proportions of OH 62 explain the nature of bipedalism in early Hominins, but it shows a transition from Australopithecus to early Homo. With the length of the femur being only an estimation, the state of OH 62’s taxonomic group will continue to be up for debate, however at the moment, OH 62 will remain to the genera of Homo habilis.

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