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By David W. Phillipson

David Phillipson offers an illustrated account of African prehistory, from the origins of humanity via eu colonization during this revised and increased version of his unique paintings. Phillipson considers Egypt and North Africa of their African context, comprehensively reviewing the archaeology of West, East, imperative and Southern Africa. His publication demonstrates the relevance of archaeological examine to knowing modern Africa and stresses the continent's contribution to the cultural history of humankind.

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The modern Old World Anthropoidea are believed to be descended from small but ape-like primates, notably that named Catopithecus, whose remains are The emergence of humankind in Africa 21 Fig. 4: The geological periods of the last 24 million years, showing the approximate ages of the principal hominoid genera attested in the African fossil record Fig. 5: The classification of the hominids within the order Primates best known from deposits in the Fayum Depression of Egypt, dating from the late Eocene/early Oligocene period about 36 million years ago (Simons 1990; Simons and Rasmussen 1994).

9: Skulls of 1, Australopithecus africanus from Sterkfontein; 2, A. boisei from Olduvai; 3, large-brained Homo, cf. H. rudolfensis (1470) from Koobi Fora shown above in Figure 6. It should be stressed that there is particular controversy concerning the relationship between Australopithecus and the earliest members of the genus Homo; some authorities (Wood and Collard 1999) deny that two genera are represented, regarding H. habilis as a gracile australopithecine. The dispute serves to emphasise the difficulty, noted above, of describing evolutionary processes in Linnaean terms.

Habilis as a gracile australopithecine. The dispute serves to emphasise the difficulty, noted above, of describing evolutionary processes in Linnaean terms. To conclude this survey of early hominid evolution, it may be instructive briefly to compare the physical features of Australopithecus africanus both with a modern person and with a modern great ape, in this instance a gorilla (Fig. 10). 5 metres high and weighed between 33 and 67 kilogrammes (McHenry 1988). Comparison of the skulls shows that the jaws and teeth of the australopithecine, despite the creature’s small overall size, were actually larger than those of a modern person.

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