The discovery of 'Homo habilis' turns 50

The discovery of 'Homo habilis' turns 50

In April 1964, the pair of archaeopaleontologists formed by the marriage Louis and Mary Leakey announced the discovery in a rugged region of Tanzania, the Olduvai Gorge. Three decades of excavations that concluded with the diffusion in the scientific world of the appearance of a new species of the genus Homo, theH. habilis. This wasthe origin of an intense debate that even after five decades of history has not been able to reach a conclusive solution.

The remains of habilis found in Olduvai suggested that it would have lived between 1.6 and 1.4 million years ago, standing as the Oldest Homo species documented to date.

The Leakeys' findings divided the scientific community among those who thought that there was indeed enough evidence to affirm that it is a different species related to our ancestors, while others thought that it bore too many similarities with the Homo oldest known hitherto, the Homo erectus, as if to qualify it as an independent subfamily of the genus erectus. In addition, they raised new questions and new hypotheses, such as the existence of a missing link in the chain of human evolution.

And to date, the debate is still open.As Bernard Wood of George Washington University has pointed out in the magazine Nature, the discovery serves to remind us of how little we know about our oldest ancestors despite how much science has advanced in these last five decades:

“It changed the search for the first humans from Asia to Africa and started a controversy that continues to this day. Even with all the fossil evidence and analysis techniques of the last 50 years, a convincing hypothesis for the origin ofHomo”Woods notes.

Romantic, in the artistic sense of the word. In my adolescence both family and friends reminded me over and over that I was an inveterate humanist, as I spent time doing what perhaps others not so much, believing myself to be Bécquer, immersed in my own artistic fantasies, in books and movies, constantly wanting to travel and explore the world, admired for my historical past and for the wonderful productions of the human being. That is why I decided to study History and combine it with Art History, because it seemed to me the most appropriate way to carry out the skills and passions that characterize me: reading, writing, traveling, researching, knowing, making known, educating. Disclosure is another of my motivations, because I understand that there is no word that has real value if it is not because it has been transmitted effectively. And with this, I am determined that everything I do in my life has an educational purpose.


Video: Fun facts about Homo Habilis!