Homo habilis

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Homo habilis ("handy man") is one of the earliest pre-human/human species in the genus homo.


It was so named because tools were found associated with its bones (though tool making is now thought to pre-date homo habilis).[1] Habilis may[2] or may not[3] have used fire.[note 1][4] Habilis still shows some adaptations for climbing trees.

The brain size, stature, and diet of Homo habilis were more like the australopithecines than later hominids, though the brain was 20% bigger and differently shaped and dentition was different. Despite this, there is controversy over whether they should be included in homo or rather be considered australopithecines.[5][6] There is even uncertainty as to whether or not the specimen discovered was an australopithecine or an atypical Homo erectus, as it is similar to both.[7]

Homo rudolfensis[edit]

Main article: Homo rudolfensis

Recent fossil finds show Homo rudolfensis might have been a distinct species from homo habilis.[8]

Realist view[edit]

Skulls of successive (or near-successive, depending on the source) human evolutionary ancestors

Late australopithecines and early Homo erectus were so similar that assigning Homo habilis to one or the other is difficult. There is no clear distinction between what creationists call the ape "kind" and the human "kind." This is because austalopithecines changed slowly over time and each generation was just slightly different than the one before, meaning there was no day when an australopithecine gave birth to a Homo habilis. Any protohuman fossils from a borderline period such as this would be difficult to categorize because the exact dividing lines between the categories are, ultimately, arbitrary: in a given series of bones that look gradually less like one species and more like another one over time, there isn't necessarily one obvious spot to pick as a divider.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. The use of fire might have been developed 1.6 million years ago when Habilis and Homo erectus were around together.