Hominid fossil skulls, illustration

Hominid fossil skulls, illustration

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Credit: JOHN SIBBICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Hominid fossil skulls. Illustration of three fossil skulls from the human evolutionary tree. At lower centre is a skull of Homo sapiens (modern humans). At top is the 'Lucy' fossil, a specimen of Australopithecus afarensis. At centre is a skull of Homo erectus. A. afarensis lived between 3.9 and 2.9 million years ago during the Pliocene. It is named for Ethiopia's Afar depression, where the 'Lucy' fossil was found in 1974. Homo erectus lived between 1.9 million years ago and 143,000 years ago, during the Pleistocene epoch. Fossils of Homo erectus have been found in Africa and in Eurasia in places ranging from Georgia to Armenia, India, China and Indonesia. Homo sapiens evolved around 400,000 years ago.

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