Homo habilis

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Homo habilis (pronounced /ˈhoʊmoʊ ˈhæbəlɨs/ "Handy-man") is a species of the genus Homo, which lived from approximately 2.3 to 1.4 million years ago at the beginning of the Pleistocene period.[1] The discovery and description of this species is credited to both Mary and Louis Leakey, who found fossils in Tanzania, East Africa, between 1962 and 1964.[2] Homo habilis (or possibly H. rudolfensis) is the earliest known species of the genus Homo. In its appearance and morphology, H. habilis is thus the least similar to modern humans of all species in the genus (except possibly H. rudolfensis). H. habilis was short and had disproportionately long arms compared to modern humans; however, it had a less protruding face than the australopithecines from which it is thought to have descended. H. habilis had a cranial capacity slightly less than half of the size of modern humans. Despite the ape-like morphology of the bodies, H. habilis remains are often accompanied by primitive stone tools (e.g. Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania and Lake Turkana, Kenya).

Homo habilis has often been thought to be the ancestor of the more gracile and sophisticated Homo ergaster, which in turn gave rise to the more human-appearing species, Homo erectus. Debates continue over whether H. habilis is a direct human ancestor, and whether all of the known fossils are properly attributed to the species. However, in 2007, new findings suggest that the two species coexisted and may be separate lineages from a common ancestor instead of H. erectus being descended from H. habilis.[3]

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