Re: sub-species classification

Amit Mehta (
Thu, 10 Oct 1996 15:33:32 -0400 wrote:
> Have any fossil homonids (apart from H.sapiens) been further classified into
> sub-species???
> Does anybody know what the latest position is on the evolution of the homonid
> line , especially the interrelationships of the various Australopithecus
> species??

While the human tree of evolution is still shrouded in some mystery,
here is the current standpoint of the majority of archaeologists: The
oldest definitive fossil remains are from about 4.5-5 million years ago
with the species Australopithecus Afarensis(the fossil find "Lucy).
Then down the line is A. Africanus, followed by A. Robustus, A. Bosei,
and Homo Habilis. The last 3 supposedly lived during the same time
period, from about 2.2 mil. yrs ago to 1.5 million years ago. The
Australopithecus line is then said to have merged/evolved into the genus
Homo. After ~1.6 million years ago, Homo erectus emerges, followed by
Homo Sapiens (archaic form). There is still conflicting and emerging
evidence about the latter's "date of arrival."
Later on, at anywhere from 250K-100K yrs. ago emerged modern Homo
Sapiens sapiens; another subspecies of Homo Sapiens is H. Sapiens
Neandrathalis. Neandrathals, which became "extinct" about 35K y. a.,
are said to be a European/cold weather version of Homo Sapiens(though
they are closer to us than any other species has been).
Of course, other theories exist, but this is the one generally accepted
by the majority.

Amit Mehta
University of Pennsylvania