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Hominid Australopithecus part of the family australopithecines. The first discovery of Australopithecus, which occurred in Africa in 1924 has confirmed the hypothesis that the continent was the place of origin of man. Chronologically, though different species have lived at various times, such as Australopithecus genus extends from the last part of the Pliocene to the Pleistocene. The name means “monkey sud.
The australopithecines appeared about 4.2 million years ago with Australopithecus anamnesis and had some success evolutionary becoming very common in Africa, die out completely until about 2 million years ago. Current knowledge allows us to trace the origin of man, in its essential steps, the evolutionary history of the primate family to which we belong, that of hominids, first using the ancient steps that appeared Australopithecus probably slightly back to the point of separation from the line that led to our closest relatives, the great apes of Africa. The first fossil specimen of Australopithecus was discovered in the twenties in a limestone deposit in Taung, South Africa, Australian anthropologist Raymond Dart: it was a young man of three years, along with humanoid traits showed many features of apes. Dart suggested that the young man was a kind of “missing link” and assigned the scientific name Australopithecus africanus. In 1935, the Scottish paleontologist Robert Broom found many remains of conspecifics of the “Taung child” discovered by Dart decade earlier, as well as fossils of a new species classified as Paranthropus. Throughout the decade following the discovery of these hominids, in the scientific community, he discussed animatedly on their phylogenetic position, as many scholars were ethically opposed to the acceptance of the species recently discovered as something different from prehistoric apes. In recent years, researchers have found other species of australopithecine, which helped shed more light on the exact period during which the members of this genus are experienced: for example, the discovery of the remains of Australopithecus sediba, dating back to 1, 9 million years ago in South Africa it has shown that these hominids lived long after their supposed disappearance, coexisting with each other and also with some species of the genus Homo.
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