Moreover, although these ancient forms were clearly members of the same larger group, discerning exactly how any of them may have been connected to later species is problematic because of incomplete fossil evidence or different interpretations of the same evidence.may have originated as early as about 2.8 mya, though the record during this time is tantalizingly fragmentary.Viewed this way, , both known from South and East African sites.
In general, they were relatively small-bodied, with large chewing teeth but reduced (sometimes highly reduced) canine teeth.
They had small (ape-sized) braincases and rather protruding faces.
As flattering to the modern human ego as this picture may be, it is evidently quite wrong.
Instead, human evolution has been throughout its long history a matter of experimentation, with new species being constantly spawned and thrown into the ecological arena to compete and, more often than not, become extinct.
Given these apelike cranial proportions, it is hardly surprising that many paleoanthropologists have characterized these early hominins as “, Ethiopia.
Ardi’s skeleton, which is more than 50 percent complete, dates to about 4.4 mya.In contrast, a majority of paleoanthropologists, wishing to bring the study of hominins into line with that of other mammals, prefer to assign to to calculate how long species had been separated from a common ancestor.The molecular clock concept is based on an assumed regularity in the accumulation of tiny changes in the genetic codes of humans and other organisms.A variety of incomplete or broken fossils from the period between about 2.5 and 2.0 mya have been placed in the category of “early .The nature of the association between the two finds is not yet completely evident, as even partial hominin skeletons are almost vanishingly rare as researchers delve deeper into the past to a time before the introduction of burial practices.This specimen also has small canine teeth compared with those of apes, thus aligning it with the hominins in an important functional regard.