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Early Hominids (prehistoric humans). Chapter 2. Australopithecus Afarensis: “Southern Ape”. aka: Lucy. Discovered by anthropologist , Donald Johanson, in Africa in an area known as, the Afar Triangle. Lucy was 3’ tall and had a mix of ape and human features.

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Early hominids prehistoric humans

Early Hominids(prehistoric humans)

Chapter 2


Australopithecus afarensis southern ape
Australopithecus Afarensis:“Southern Ape”

aka: Lucy.

Discovered by anthropologist, Donald Johanson, in Africa in an area known as, the Afar Triangle.

Lucy was 3’ tall and had a mix of ape and human features.

Her arms were long but her hands and feet were similar to modern humans.

She had a large head and her forehead and jaw stuck out from her face.


Lucy was a biped
Lucy was a biped.

Remains of other hominids have been found in the same area. Scientists guess that Lucy’s relatives lived in Africa, about 3 to 4 million years ago.

Anthropologists agree that Lucy was an early form of humans.

Lucy had many advantages because she was a biped:

-gather and carry food easily

-use their hands to defend their young

Lucy’s brain was 1/3 our size.

Scientists have not found any tools from Lucy’s time and they don’t think these early hominids could speak.


Homo habilis
Homo Habilis

aka: Handy Man

Discovered in Africa, by a husband-wife team Louis and Mary Leakey.

The Leakeys named their discovery Homo Habilis, or Handy Man because the artifacts they discovered that looked like tools.

Handy Man also had a combination of human and ape features.

They were bipeds but they were taller than Lucy with slightly more humanlike features.

Handy Man’s brain was twice the size of Lucy’s.

Handy Man lived in groups, this allowed them to work together to:

gather food

protect themselves


Handy man the toolmaker
Handy Man: The Toolmaker

Handy Man lived 1.5 to 2 million years ago.

They were more advanced than Lucy, however, his tools were very simple. They used:

rocks as chopping tools

sharp pieces of stone for cutting

animal bones as digging sticks

Making a tool takes some thought. They had to imagine the tool, then plan how to craft it and then make it. They may have passed this knowledge down.

These tools allowed Handy Man to lead a better life than Lucy. With their tools they could:

cut meat off of dead animals

crack animal bones

dig traps for small animals


Homo erectus
Homo Erectus

aka: Upright Man

A third type of hominid was discovered in 1891 by Eugene Dubois. It was found on the island of Java off the coast of Asia. He was found before Lucy or Handy Man.

Upright Man was around much longer than any hominid group.

Scientists believe that they were the first to migrate out of Africa. Their remains have been found in parts of Asia and Europe.

Upright Man was taller and thinner than earlier hominids. Their bones were strong and they were good walkers and runners.

The face was much more like Modern Humans. Their foreheads were round and smooth, but they still had a jaw and brow that stuck out.


Traveling with fire
Traveling with Fire

Upright Man still had Handy Man’s tools, plus he had a bigger brain. So, Upright Man was able to improve Handy Man’s tools and invent better ones.

Upright Man’s biggest discovery was fire. Upright Man used fire to cook their meat.

Upright Man built huts and used fire and animal skins to keep warm and comfortable.

Building shelters gave Upright Man protection from the weather and any animals that might want to hurt them. He had the first hominid communities.


Homo sapiens neanderthalensis
Homo Sapiens Neanderthalensis

  • aka: Wise Man

  • Found in 1856 by mine workers in Germany’s Neander Valley.

  • Scientist believe that it is from this group of big brained hominids that modern humans belong to.

  • Neanderthals walked upright, they were shorter and stockier than modern humans but they were also stronger.

  • Neanderthals created more than 60 tools, including: knives, spears, scrapers and sharp thin blades.


Neanderthals and their community
Neanderthals and their community.

  • When Neanderthals were sick or injured, their community took care of them.

  • When Neanderthals died they were buried in burial mounds with hunting tools and flowers.

  • When they hunted, Neanderthals worked together in groups to trap an animal.

  • Neanderthals existed side-by-side with Modern Humans for 10,000 years. Scientists don’t know how they disappeared. All they know is that only one type of Homo sapiens survived to become early modern humans.


Homo sapiens sapiens
Homo Sapiens Sapiens

  • aka: Early Modern Humans or Doubly Wise Man

  • They lived in Europe, Asia, Australia and eventually (across land bridges) North and South America.

  • High rounded skulls, large brains, small teeth and slender bones. They were not adapted for the cold as well as Neanderthals. They survived because they could create better tools, shelter and clothing. They made hooks and spears and the bow and arrow.

  • They made tools for engraving and sculpting (art) and made needles to sew clothes of animal skins. They also built shelters of earth and stone.


Early modern human cave artists
Early Modern Human: Cave Artists

  • Thanks to the cave art left by the Early Modern Humans we have a fascinating record of their lives. They made sculptures, cave art, and even invented instruments.

  • Scientists aren’t sure why they created their art, maybe it was a teaching tool, decoration or maybe it had to do with a religion.

  • One thing that this art show is that they had the ability to dream and express their feelings. They didn’t just survive, they lived!