Africa: Human Evolution

Early Man

Through the many archeological finds in the continent, scientists now believe that humanity first originated in Africa. Among the earliest forms of prehistoric primates is a creature called Proconsul, which was found in a geological fault dating 25 million years. The question on many scientists' minds was if this was from where man originated: the primate, Proconsul, had a larger brain than any other proceeding primates.

One of the first known clues to this question of where man originated came from fossils found in the Afar depression in Ethiopia in the early 1970's.

The star of this find was a skeleton, 40 percent complete, widely known as "Lucy". So why was Lucy so important? Well, she was considered by scientists to be man's earliest known ancestor- she was estimated to be 3.2 million years old. And the skeleton was complete enough to give scientists a good idea on how Lucy may have looked 3.2 million years ago, and possibly how she behaved.

The first humans are generally called Homo habilis or "handy man". The first fossil remains of this "handy man" were found scattered among animal bones in Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania on May 1960. Primitive tools found along with the fossils lead scientists to believe these were tool makers, hense the term habilis. These fossils at Olduvai Gorge date from 1.7 million years ago. 1     2     3

Early Man

Skeleton of Lucy. Copyright IHO.


 Africa in History
 Human Evolution

 North Africa  

 Kingdoms of the South
 Trading Empires
 West Africa

Slave Trade