Homo habilis

Homo habilis
1.15 - 2.6 Ma
Time periods:
Calabrian, Pleistocene

Classification Tree


Homo habilis



Homo habilis ("handy man") is an extinct species of archaic human from the Early Pleistocene of East and South Africa about 2.31 million years ago to 1.65 million years ago. Homo habilis was highly contested when first proposed, with many researchers recommending it be synonymised with Australopithecus africanus, the only other early hominin known at the time, but Homo habilis received more recognition as time went on and more relevant discoveries were made. By the 1980s, Homo habilis was proposed to have been a human ancestor, directly evolving into Homo erectus which directly led to modern humans. This viewpoint is now debated. Several specimens with insecure species identification were assigned to H. habilis, leading to arguments for splitting, namely into "H. rudolfensis" and "H. gautengensis" of which only the former has received wide support.

Like contemporary Homo, Homo habilis brain size generally varied from 500–900 cm3 (31–55 cu in). The body proportions of Homo habilis are only known from two highly fragmentary skeletons, and is based largely on assuming a similar anatomy to the earlier australopithecines. Because of this, it has also been proposed Homo habilis be moved to the genus Australopithecus as Australopithecus habilis. However, the interpretation of Homo habilis as a small-statured human with inefficient long distance travel capabilities has been challenged. The presumed female specimen OH 62 is traditionally interpreted as having been 100–120 cm (3 ft 3 in – 3 ft 11 in) in height and 20–37 kg (44–82 lb) in weight assuming australopithecine-like proportions, but assuming humanlike proportions she would have been about 148 cm (4 ft 10 in) and 35 kg (77 lb). Nonetheless, Homo habilis may have been at least partially arboreal like what is postulated for australopithecines. Early hominins are typically reconstructed as having thick hair and marked sexual dimorphism with males much larger than females, though relative male and female size is not definitively known.


NameAge MinAge Max
Olduvai Gorge (FLK I)4300002588000


This page was last edited on December 29, 2022 at 02:15:35 UTC