Human Evolution

Human Evolution

Human evolution is a field of biolgical research concerned with the origin of humans. Homo sapiens and its ancestors are at the core but comparative analyses also include great apes, other primates, and mammals. Human Evolution is part of the discipline "physical anthropology" and requires a multidisciplinary approach involving evolutionary biology, primatology, genetics, paleoecology, geology, mathematics, linguistics, and others.

The term "human", in the context of human evolution, refers to the genus Homo, but studies of human evolution usually include other hominins, such as australopithecines. The genus Homo diverged from the australopithecines about 2 million years ago in Africa. Several species of Homo evolved, including Homo erectus, which spread to Asia, and Homo neanderthalensis, which spread mainly to Europe. Homo sapiens evolved between 200,000 and 150,000 years ago. Most scientists favor the view that modern humans evolved in Africa and spread across the globe, replacing populations of Homo erectus and Neanderthals. Others view modern humans as having evolved as a single, widespread population.

Starting with Homo habilis, humans have used stone tools of increasing sophistication. From 50,000 years ago onwards, human technology and culture began to change more rapidly.

The research at our department comprises: