by Jason Amores Sumpter
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Australopithecus is a genus of hominids that lived from about four million years ago to about two million years ago. And this the organisms in this genus played an important role in human evolution. Over here you can see the reconstruction of the skull of an Australopithecus species Australopithecus, af friends ISS, which you can see that name printed on this map over here. And also, if I jump out of the image really quick, you can see that name printed behind where my head waas So that is the species name. And next to that skull, we have a reconstruction of that organism. Um what people think it might have looked like this is based on a partial fossil. That's our partial fossils that have been uncovered. So you know it, Z, there's some artistic license being taken here. But this eyes is thought to be the ancestor or an ancestor of modern humans. Australopithecus afarensis. And, uh, this particular organism is known commonly as Lucy um, which is Theo con name given to a particular skeleton of the species that was found? No, As you can see in this map, there are many different species of straehle. A pith acas, and they're found all over Africa. And Australopithecus is indeed native to Africa. And there were a bunch of different species, uh, in that genus. Now, from that genius arises this a new genus Homo. That's the genius that we belong. Thio. And it's thought that theme, the homo genus of hominids, evolved from possibly from Australopithecus af Arends iss. And it's thought that the homo genus arose around two million years ago. So let's actually take a look at some of the species in the homo genus now, uh, early early species in the homo genus is homo habilis and that I'm abbreviating the name here just to be clear. So a Chablis is short for homo habilis and basically this, um, this name just means handyman, and these organisms were named for their tool use. Uh, there, you know, early humans, very early humans and some people, some scientists actually believe that they're better classified in the Australopithecus genus rather than the homo genus. So, um, you know that line? That distinction is not super clear cut, right? It's not super explicit, you know, there's it's ah, you know, a vague enough transition that some people even classify this homo habilis is Australopithecus hapless, for example. Now, uh, another early species is homo erectus, and also Homo or gaster. These early humans originated in Africa, but they actually emigrated from the continent. And here in this map, behind my head, you can see the path taken by early humans. And we're actually looking at three different species. And in yellow, that's thedetroitbureau shin of Homo erectus. So you can see they were found in Africa. But they also crossed over, Um, you know, via the Sinai Peninsula there, uh, to the Arabian Peninsula. And they also, um, you know, made it into the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia. However, it was homo Neanderthal, uh, Neanderthal insists that made it into up into Europe. Right. So those, uh, those guys are colored in in this orange color, and you can see that they were found, uh, you know, really, like, all across Europe, into the Bactrian region, all around the black, and cast me and see. And even on the island of Albion, or as we know it today. England. Um, now, uh, these guys, these homo Neanderthal insists these air what we often commonly referred to as Neanderthals, right? Who? Sometimes we also call them caveman. Um however, when we say Neanderthal in science were actually referring to this particular species or potentially subspecies, there's actually some argument there as to whether Neanderthals are a species or subspecies, uh, of human. And it's worth noting that they do share 99.7% of their DNA with modern humans, which, to put that into perspective, chimpanzees share about 98.8% of their DNA with modern humans. So this is like a full percentage point closer to modern humans. So very similar DNA. Now, humans are known as homo SAPIENs, which means Wiseman and Homo SAPIENs air. Actually, what we call, uh, anatomically modern humans. People living today are thought of as a sub species. We actually call ourselves Homo SAPIENs. SAPIENs, right. So are subspecies of modern humans. Just tax on an extra SAPIENs. Right? So we're h SAPIENs SAPIENs. Little redundant. So we're not wise man, But wise, wise man, like super extra smart, I guess. Um and you can see that Homo SAPIENs have inhabited the whole planet. Where are trajectory? Here is shown in red. We spread over Africa, made it up into Europe. Asia, Russia crossed the bearing straight into Alaska. Um, you know, down into the Americas, uh, colonized all of the self Pacific region Oceania, if you will, um, you know, even went up into the Arctic region. So, uh, you know, we our ancestors, I should say I shouldn't take credit. Our ancestors colonized the whole planet, so you know they're there. Four bears, the Neanderthals, Homo erectus. They got out of Africa, but they didn't make it nearly as far Azaz our ancestors did. Now, another term I wanna briefly mentioned is Crow Magnin. Uh, Cro Magnons man. Right. Cro Magnons people, Those air, actually, just early European, European homo SAPIENs. So those are technically humans. Those are our, uh, direct ancestors. In essence. Now, uh, in addition to this map, I also have this other cool chart that shows basically the the presence of various species of Thehuffingtonpost genus on and their distribution. And also like when they were populating Ah, a certain area. So you can see we have homo gaster and homo erectus. Um, and you can see that homo erectus started in Africa, right? Spread out into Asia. So I know this chart might look a little confusing. Hopefully, you can kind of get the idea. I don't expect you to draw any terribly important conclusions from it. It's just their toe, you know, add a little color to this story. Now, one thing I do want to point out, though, is that there is overlap between Homo, Neanderthal, Insys and Homo SAPIENs. That is to say that Neanderthals and home of SAPIENs were contemporaries. They lived at the same time. However, there are no more Neanderthals, right? Those guys disappear it some point. Homo SAPIENs are everywhere now, And, you know, there's a lot of and also, you know, if you look at this, um, figure you notice that the Neanderthals break off way before Homo SAPIENs break off. So they just they represent distinct lineages. Right? So what happened to the Neanderthals? That's a really big question. Where did they go? They were contemporaries with homo SAPIENs. Now there are none there. Many different theories as to why this is, um including, uh, you know what they call assimilation? Essentially Neanderthals. Inter bred with Homo SAPIENs. And now we're all just kind of one species. They were essentially Neanderthals. were absorbed into Homo SAPIENs, which would give credence to the idea that they're actually just a subspecies, not, um, a distinct species. Some theories go into places that are a little darker. I mean, for example. For example, some people, uh, piggyback off the idea that there's a Nen Herron violence in human nature, right, that humans are innately violent organisms. And so people think that, uh, those old homo SAPIENs may have actually carried out genocide against the Neanderthals that they they actually wiped them out. And that's why they disappeared. So, uh, there's a whole range of explanations. I don't pretend to know enough Thio, you know, weigh in and say that I believe one is more likely than another, though I do think they're very interesting. And I highly recommend that if you're interested in this, you go check out some of those explanations because it is fascinating stuff. That's our history, right? So that's all I have for this video. Hopefully, this tickled your imagination a little bit, tickled your fancy, and I'll see you guys next time