4. The word hominid refers to members of the family of humans. It includes all species from our human ancestors and also all living apes, such as the Hominoidea.
The hominid fossil record will not be complete for a long while, but there is enough evidence for researchers to give us good idea about the history of humans. There are a number of fossils that have been found throughout the researchers journeys. One of them is called Ardipithecus ramidus. It is the oldest known hominid species, found in Aramis, Ethiopia in 1994 by Tim White. Most remains are skull fragments. Indirect evidence suggests that it was possibly bipedal, and that some individuals were about 4'0 tall. The teeth appear to be more apelike than any other hominid. Another fossil is the Australopithecus africanus which was found by Dr. Raymond Dart in 1925 in a limestone quarry in South Africa. Brain size ranged between 420 and 500 cc. Although the teeth and jaws of africanus are much larger than those of humans, they are far more similar to human teeth than to ape teeth. There are eight species named so far. There are two general categories for these species, “gracile” which is slightly built and “robust” which is heavier built.
Australopithecus afarensis is another fossil that existed between 3.18 million years ago. It was found in Hador, Ethiopia. A. Afarensis had an apelike face with a low forehead, a bony ridge over the eyes, a flat nose, and no chin. They had jaws that were sticking out with large back teeth. Their brain size was from about 400 to 500 cc. The skull is similar a chimpanzee, except for the more humanlike teeth. The canine teeth are much smaller than those of modern apes, but larger and more pointed than those of humans. Their pelvis and leg bones resemble those of modern man, and they were bipedal. Their bones show that they were physically very strong. Females were significantly smaller than males. Height varied between 3'6" and 5'0" and they weighed about 35-50lbs. Australopithecus robustus existed 1-2 million years ago. They had a similar body to that of africanus, but a much larger and more robust skull and teeth. It weighed about 75-200lbs and was about 3.5-4.5 feet tall. It has a big flat face with no forehead and large brow ridges. It has fairly small front teeth, but massive grinding teeth in the lower jaw. Most specimens have sagittal crests. Its diet would have been mostly coarse, tough food that needed a lot of chewing. The average brain size is about 530 cc and its capacity was from about 400-550ml.
Two other type of fossils found in the hominid specie are homo erectus and homo ergaster. Homo ergaster was found about two million years ago in Lake Turkana, in Northern Kenya. It was considered to be a specie with a large-body and large-brain. It has a high cranial vault, thin cranial bone and it doesn’t have a sagittal keel. Now the homo erectus was also found in Kenya and...