Homohablis The next most recent ancestor of man is Homo habilis. The first ever fossil remains of Homo habilis were discovered in 1964 in Tanzania, East Africa by the Leakeys. Robert Jurmain wrote in his text book, Introduction to Physical Anthropology, Louis Leakey suggested that there was a Plio-Pleistocene hominid with a significantly larger brain then found in Australiopithecus. They made this claim based on the findings at Olduvai Gorge. Leakey and his team gave a new species name to the fossil remains The fossils of Homo habilis are different then those of the Australopithecines by several physical characteristics such as a larger cranial cavity, smaller rear teeth, and skeletal bones which resemble modern humans.
Homo habilis means handy man, Fossils uncovered in Tanzania date back about 1.8 to 2 million years. Stone tools were also found with the remains of H. habilis and the remains of some Australopithecines. Jurmain wrote .. Leakey argued that other remains found at Olduvai were the remains of a hablis meal!.
From my notes taken in Physical Anthropology class, I wrote, there has been debate over the assertion by Leakey and it is noted that cultural and physical morphology must be considered when determining whether they were cannibalistic. It is believed that the more advanced Homo habilis created and used tools. Homo habilis is considered to be the earliest member of the human genus Homo, it represents the evolutionary transition between the Australopithecines and the later members of the species Homo erectus. Jurmain wrote in his textbood, While A. africanus had a cranial capacity that averaged between 375 cu cm (22.9 cu in) and 485 cu cm (29.6 cu in), the Homo habilis brain averaged 750 cu cm (45.8 cu in)–compared to the modern human brain size of 1,300 to 1,350 cu cm (or 79.3 to 82.4 cu in).
As hominid’s became more human, they developed the production of tools from materials such as stone. Stone tools are the more valuable artifacts because they are the ones that have survived to modern times. Others artifacts that were needed for the survival of habilis , were likely made from wood, bone, fiber, and hide. These materials have not survived like the stone tools. The tools of habilis have been found in larger numbers than its actual bones. This is because one individual could make hundred of stone tool in a life time.
Homo habilis discarded tools and the waste products of making them. The tools remain the most solid evidence of the lifestyle of Homo habilis. According to Jurmaine ..based on their characteristic tools types, they are often described as being from the pebble chopper industry. The pebble chopper technology originated at least 2 million years ago and was the major method of making tools until about 1.5 million years ago. Even though the Olduvai tools were poorly made it was a huge step toward having the ability to control the environment.
According to Professor J. Schell The tools show that habilis had the ability to use an object from nature to perform a specific task and to also modify that object according to a predetermined formula. This process involved foresight, planning, and experimentation. Such advanced mental processes led the Leakeys to conclude that the makers of the Olduvai tools, Homo habilis , were part of the genus homo, and to call them handy humans. Science Essays.