Chapter Summary

Focus of the chapter:

  • Development of earliest members of genus Homo
  • Homo habilis
  • Homo erectus

Louis Leakey’s discovery of the type specimen of Homo habilis focused attention on evolutionary changes in human brain size as well as changes in dentition. Homo habilis had a larger brain but smaller teeth than the australopithecines. This species is also associated with the stone tools in the Oldowan complex.

Homo erectus is known to be the first hominid species to move out of Africa into Europe and Asia. Homo erectus possessed a different set of physical traits from Homo habilis, including a larger brain and larger body size. Homo erectus also developed cultural traits different from those of Homo habilis: consumption of meat protein, use of fire, and the Acheulian tool complex. These cultural developments affected human biology.