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Origins of Humankind
The Hominid Family Tree

Orrorin tugenensis
(6 mya)

Ardipithecus ramidus
(4.4 mya)

Australipithecus anamensis
(4.2 to 3.9 mya)

Australipithecus afarensis
(3.6 to 2.9 mya)

Kenyanthropus platyops
(3.5 to 3.3 mya)

Australipithecus africanus
(3 to 2 mya)

Australipithecus aethiopicus
(2.7 to 2.3 mya)

Australipithecus garhi
(2.5 mya)

Australipithecus boisei
(2.3 to 1.4 mya)

Homo habilis
(2.3 to 1.6 mya)

Homo erectus
(1.8 to 0.3 mya)

Australipithecus robustus
(1.8 to 1.5 mya)

Homo heidelbergensis
(600 to 100 tya)

Homo neanderthalensis
(250 to 30 tya)

Homo sapiens
(100 tya to present)

mya = millions of years ago        tya = thousands of years ago


Australopithecus garhi (2.5 million years ago)

Species Description:

Australopithecus garhi may represent an evolutionary link between the genera of Australopithecus and Homo. Circumstantial evidence suggests that A. garhi may have been the earliest tool user. Antelope fossils excavated from the same site as A. garhi show cut marks made by a stone tool; both the hominid and antelope fossils are dated at 2.5 million years old. The earliest stone tools, thought to be 2.6 million years old, were found nearby in Gona, Ethiopia.

Fossil Finds:

Estimated age: 2.5 million years
Date of discovery: 1997
Location: Bouri Formation, Ethiopia

The very large teeth in this partial skull suggest that A. garhi may have descended from one of the other Australopithecus species, likely A. afarensis.

Evidence of Culture:

Earliest stone tools (debated)
Estimated age: 2.5 million years
Location: Gona, Ethiopia

While the issue is debated, some scientists propose that A. garhi made tools by chipping small pieces off of volcanic rocks to form a sharp, scalloped edge.

-> Go to Australipithecus boisei

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