3 December 2023

This term is implemented when the class belonging to the primate order is named. According to the history and evolution of the human, this It is the only surviving species. Below we explain what it consists of and what is its importance in evolution.

Definition and concept of hominid

They are a group of primates that includes the ancestors of, and African apes. They belong to the hominidae family. which are a group of first beings that do not have a tail, and are classified into four genera that include 5 living species:

  • Humans
  • orangutans
  • gorillas
  • chimpanzees
  • Bonobos.

Hominid evolution has been the subject of intense study and debate in the field of anthropology and evolutionary biology. Fossils have been discovered and other hominid remains that have shed light on their evolution and their relationship with other animal species. Hominids continue to be a source of fascination and study for scientists and the general public.

The pro homine principle implies respecting and protecting the rights of non-human hominids, such as chimpanzees, bonobos and gorillas, which are our closest evolutionary relatives. It also means advocating for their conservation and well-being in the wild and in captivity.

What is the history of hominids?

It is a fascinating topic that captures the attention of individuals that is under constant investigation by scientists. In order to better understand the evolution of the human being as a species. Studies indicate that all began about 6 or 7 million years ago in Africa, although fossils have also been found in Europe and Asia corresponding to the Miocene period, about 20 million years old.

But only the genus that corresponds to the human being spread throughout the world, to such an extent that Homos sapiens were able to pass the barrier to the American continent, where none is native. This human species (Hominids) was born by the division of primates that began their growth and evolution approximately 15 million years ago, up to what is today’s man.

While this transformation developed, fundamental changes were propitiated in the individual. But in the family of orangutans, gorillas and chimpanzees They have not undergone significant variations. The first known hominids were the African apes: Australopithecus and Ardipithecus Ramidus, dating to 4 million years ago. They were bipedal and differed from the others because they walked on two legs. Its evolution continued with the appearance of different species of Homo:

  • Homo erectus.
  • Homo Heidelbergensis.
  • Homo Neanderthalensis.
  • Homo sapiens.

This last direct ancestor of man, and who shared the land. Although the early period of hominids has an exact approximation according to research, are considered extinct about 2 million years ago. While different species coexisted for a long time and at the end of one intermingled with the generations of another.

What is hominid evolution?

They come from the Hominini tribe, Genetically composed of the species closest to man. The first were:

  • Australopithecus: Its evolution occurred in eastern Africa. Their main characteristics identify them with the great apes, their brain was smaller than that of the man with whom they present bipedalism in common and they had smaller canines and molars than other species of apes.
  • Paranthropus: This genus is independent within the Hominini tribe and they are not ancestors of man. Its existence dates from 2.5 m a. and it is recorded that they disappeared 1 million years ago.
  • Homo: They appear about 2.5 or 3 million years ago. The first were H. habilis. It has a physical appearance closer to current human beings. Its jaw was less prognathous and its brain was larger, but with longer arms.

Then H. erectus appears. Its emergence is recorded in East Africa and it was the first to emigrate from the continent. Remains of this have been located in India, China, Java and Europe. It shows characteristics closer to that of modern humans. Larger (about 1.85 meters) and its brain was larger.

Also their nostrils were directed downwards, which made them much more similar to man. It is believed that this feature is due to a process of adaptation to cold climates. It is considered that he was the first hominid to use fire and have a structured house. It is estimated that its extinction happened about 50,000 years ago.

Archaic humans are grouped together as H. neanderthalensis, H. rhodesiensis, H. heidelbergensis, and H. antecessor. Its distinction is centered on a thicker skull, a prominent brow ridge and a shallow chin. Some of them survived until about 30,000 to 10,000 years ago. Paleontologists consider them to be a subspecies.

If we talk about today, there is only man H. sapiens sapiens as the only species of this genus. This is believed to be due to the competition between populations by occupying the same space on earth, which caused them to isolate themselves and eliminate the other human species.

This process led H. sapiens to explore and migrate, taking advantage of the characteristic of curiosity that pushed it to populate the planet and develop the variety of existing cultures. Extinct hominid species: One of those that has already disappeared is the Hominini tribe of the Homininae subfamily, being the closest to the human race.

Within this community is the Dryopithecini clan or great apes, inhabitants of Africa and Eurasia. Also extinct, and the Gorillini tribe, in which the Chororapithecus abyssinicus is found. Current hominin species:

  • Homo sapiens sapiens: It is the only species of this genus that lives. It is the modern human being. It carries genes from primitive ancestors.
  • Pan troglodytes: Known as a chimpanzee, from a genetic point of view, it is the closest to man and has even learned to communicate through signs.
  • Pan paniscus: It is the other closest relative of the human being. It is only 1.3% different. His demeanor is intelligent and peaceful. They use sexual relations as a social strategy (from greetings to solving their problems).
  • Gorillas: We find the Gorilla gorilla, which lives in West Africa, and the Beringei, which lives in East Africa.
  • Orangutans: The Pongo pygmaeus or also known as Borneo. His fur is reddish and his behavior solitary. He has the ability to build tools.
  • The Pongo tapanuliensis (from Tapanuli): which is originally from Indonesia.
  • The Abelii (of Sumatran): which is smaller than the preceding species.

What are the characteristics of hominids?

They are primates that have adapted to life on earth, so their walk is straight and their skulls are vertical. He stoutest first toe and in line with the remaining four. The hands with a developed thumb that benefits them to manipulate objects. The characteristics acquired are:

  • bipedalism: one of its main qualities is that it walks on two legs and looks forward, which allows its hands to be free.
  • Opposable thumb: This empowers him to be much more detailed in the work he does.
  • Changes in facial features: the forehead, jaw and chin are diminishing and undergoing transformations.
  • Teeth: they have small canines and worn at the tip.
  • Arms: Compared to other apes, they are shorter.
  • Communication: Advanced language forms can be observed.
  • Tool use: they use them to facilitate activities that complement their hands-on skills.
  • Creation of social circles.
  • Space for family structures: with designated roles.

What was the diet of hominids?

The diet is omnivorous mixing vegetables, fruits, leaves and seeds with meat, fish and insects. Almost always the basis of his diet is vegetarian and having teeth similar to all species, it has pieces prepared to cut, tear and crush.

According to scientists, the first hominids were made up of hard foods. Due to its cranio-dental adaptations, it is believed that it fed on plants, roots and fruits. But this has changed and generated doubts Because with the use of technological and computerized instruments the opposite has been confirmed: the first humans based their diet on soft products such as fruits and berries.

This exploration focuses on analyzing the difference between geometry and biomechanical behavior. This is done through the study of the jaws using the methods that allow to analyze data in quantity.

How was the behavior of hominids?

It was characterized by vocalizations and varied facial expressions. Regarding sexual behavior It presents complexity because it does not always have reproductive purposes, but is linked to pleasure, an important distinction that differentiates it from other animal species. All care for and attend to their young and build elaborate nests and spaces for protection and rest.

What are the oldest hominids?

When talking about the antiquity of the species and who was the first, Australopithecus anamensis, which lived 4.2 mya ago in Ethiopia, is starting the list. It is believed that there are others that would be older, such as Sahelanthropus tchadensis, of which remains of a jaw and teeth from 6-7 ma were found in Chad.

The discovery of new fossils of the genus Ardipithecus from 5.8-4.4 ma has revolutionized paleontology. The analysis by its anatomy reveals the beginning of bipedalism and an arboreal origin without having passed through a terrestrial period. The roots of the genus Homo are in the Australopithecines distributed throughout Africa. They were bipedal and are the only primates whose big toe is in the same plane, so it is not opposable.

The phylogeny is not easy to determine. It is considered that upon encountering a drastic climate change 2.5 mya ago, two new phenotypes emerged that differ from the first by two genera that arose: Homo and Paranthropus. Knowing about hominids, their characteristics and process allows us to understand the evolution of the human species from its inception to the present day and to understand how its changes and adaptation have developed on earth.

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