Delson, Eric Lehman College and Graduate Center, The City University of New York; Department of Vertebrate Paleontology, American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York.
Baab, Karen L. Department of Anatomical Sciences, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York.
Last reviewed:February 2019
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- Dating fossils
- Prehuman ancestry
- Identification of early hominins
- Miocene hominins
- Pliocene hominins: the australopiths
- Earliest definite humans: Australopithecus
- Robust varieties
- The rise of Homo
- Early Homo
- Early Homo technology
- Homo erectus
- African populations
- Eurasian representatives
- Middle Pleistocene Homo
- Spread of modern humans
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Ancient fossilized members of human beings and those species directly ancestral to modern humans. Fossil humans comprise all prehistoric skeletal remains of humans that are archeologically earlier than the Neolithic (necessarily an imprecise limit, but approximately 10,000 years ago), regardless of the degree of mineralization or fossilization of bone, and regardless of whether the remains may be classed as Homo sapiens (anatomically modern humans) or a more ancient species. In this sense, the term "humans" is used broadly to mean all primates related to living people since the last common ancestor of people and African apes; therefore, this definition encompasses all species included in the genera Homo (Fig. 1), Australopithecus, Ardipithecus, and Paranthropus (as well as potentially others). See also: Anthropology; Apes; Australopith; Fossil; Fossil apes; Fossil primates; Neolithic; Phylogeny; Physical anthropology; Primates
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