Charles Darwin in his theory of evolution suggests that man evolved from ape-like creatures. In this theory, there is an indication that the early man was distinct from apes. Hence, some discovery have pointed out the early man could stand upright while apes could not. The hands of the apes were made for climbing and clinging while the early man’s hands were jointed in such a way that he could use and make tools. Despite the little evidence on the tool-making affair of early man, remains of polished bones suggest that he made simple digging tools from bone. Generally, the early man appeared about 3 million years ago.
However, the 1932 discovery by Louis Leaky in South Western Kenya reveal that Ramapitheticus is probably the oldest man known to date. Ramapitheticus is believed to have lived 12 to 14 years ago. Astralopitheticus, also known as the southern ape, were first discovered in South Africa. The creature had human-like maxillary form and walked upright. The teeth resembled that of human being and it has a full face, jaws and an endocranial bone. Some scientist believes that this creature was the first branch of apes that evolved into modern man. Other evidences of Australopithecines have been unearthed at Kromdraii, Makapansgat and Swartkrans.
The Homo habilis also known as the handy man are believed to be the first true humans. Discovered in 1915 by Mary Leaky, it lived 1. 8 millions ago in Africa. Homo habilis are credited with making stone tools and basic weapons. They were taller than their ancestors. Homo habilis had huge non-human molars, a small brain, and a large sagital crest. Their main diet was probably wild fruits, nuts, roots, and vegetables. Although, the handy man did not have skills to make fire they built fire camps out of existing fires. The Homo erectus succeeded the Homo sabilis. They existed between 1. 6 million BCE to 30 000 BCE.
He was about the same size as the modern man although the size of their brain was two third the size of human brain. Their tool making skills improved considerably; they made stone axes and knives. Homo erectus made fire and cooked their food. Besides fire camping, fire brought about social occasions in. Homo erectus had much semblance with human especially their teeth and jaws. They walked upright. Scientist discovered that these early men skeleton was shaped like modern man. Their skulls grew forward for their brain to develop. Besides, creating stone tools, and bone needles and fish hooks, the Homo sapiens sew clothes from animal skins.
The Homo sapiens were also hunters and gatherers. In conclusion, several other discoveries that purport the existence of early man lack credibility. Piltdown man, also known as the dawn man and scientifically referred as Eanthropus dawsoni was discovered by Charles Dawson in 1912. He concluded that Piltdown man existed in 500 000 million years ago, had ape-like jawbone but the teeth and the skull resembled that of human being. However, after forty years of discovery, Kenneth Oakley, Joseph Weiner and Wilfred Le Gros Clark termed the discovery as a hoax.
They claimed that the skull was indeed human and the jawbone was of a modern ape whose teeth were filed to resemble that of human. Again, Nebraska scientifically known as Hesperopithecus haroldcookii was discovered in Pliocene deposits of Nebraska in 1922 by Mr. Cook. It was publicized by Henry Osborn who likened its teeth to that of man. Unfortunately, he failed to conclude whether Hesperopithecus was an ape or human ancestor. References: Muller, H. J. (1959). One Hundred Years Without Darwin Are Enough. Osborn, H. F. (1926). The Evolution of Human Races, Natural History. Spielvogel, J. J. Western Civilization, Volume 1, Sixth Edition.