Australopithecus (Australopithecus) is a genus name given to animals that lived in Africa about 1 million years ago about 4 million years ago. Australopithecines are the oldest known hominid fossils.
Australopithecirs started to stand up and walk on two legs. They are 110 – 150 cm long; They have a large and prominent face and large teeth. Their brains are one-third of the current people. Men grow bigger than women.
Anthropologists have generally identified six Australopithecus species. These are the youngest of the oldest:
Paranthropus boisei and
Paranthropus is robustus.
Although the australopithecines are large faces and minorities, A. boisei and A. robustus have larger jaws and teeth than others. Some anthropologists place these broad australopithecs into a genus called Paranthropus.
Australopithecine fossils were first discovered in 1924 by South African anthropologist Raymond Dart. Dart found a child’s skull in Taung, near Vryburg, South Africa. Dart believed that this stranded hominid, called Australopithecus africanus, was a hominid, but the vast majority of scientists at the time believed that this fossil belonged to an extinct gorilla class (Ape).
In the last 35 years, the evidence shows that this fossil really belongs to a hominid.
In 1974, the researchers, Hadar, came to Ethiopia with another australopithekin skeleton. This fossil, 3.2 million years old, is called Lucy. Lucy was able to walk, and had arms that were proportional to her body but longer than normal people.
In 1978 Laetoli found bones in Tanzania, along with footprints of a hominid who lived 3.6 million years ago. Scientists have called “Lucy” and Laetoli fossils Australopithecus afarensis. In 1998, an entire Australopithecus africanus skeleton was discovered in Sterkfontein near Johannesburg, South Africa.