Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Thank climate change for the rise of humans
SOME claim climate change will destroy our species; now it seems it also helped forge it. The rapid fluctuations in temperature that characterised the global climate between 2 and 3 million years ago coincided with a golden age in human evolution.
The fossil record shows that eight distinct species emerged from one hominin species, Australopithecus africanus, alive 2.7 million years ago. The first members of our genus appeared between 2.4 and 2.5 million years ago, while Homo erectus, the first hominin to leave Africa, had evolved by 1.8 million years ago.
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