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Dating early hominids

Several years ago, a team of scientists from the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt, Germany, set out to put a human face to ancient hominid species that once walked the Earth.

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In the last 8 million years, at least a dozen human-like species have lived on Earth.Early hominid teeth changed substantially over time.A number of fossil apes of the Middle and Late Miocene had a dental pattern featuring low-cusped, grinding molars with relatively thick enamel.Ramapithecus therefore is no longer considered a hominid.The field of science which studies the human fossil record is known as paleoanthropology.A colorful family tree, fossils, tools, use of fire, genetics and natural selection. Primate Speciation Rise of Hominids, timeline and group descriptions.

Hominid Species : from Describes 18 hominid & earlier species.

These substantial differences between living African apes and fossil Miocene apes make it unclear which pattern may be the ancestral condition for early hominids.

But this pattern of diversity does suggest that the dental characteristics of hominoids tend to evolve readily in response to dietary changes.

Only a few thousand fossils of pre-human species have ever been discovered and entire sub-species are sometimes known only from a single jaw or fragmentary skull.

Furthermore, like modern-day humans, no two hominids were alike and it is difficult to determine whether variations in skull features represent distinct species or variations within the same species.

In females of some species such as Ouranopithecus, Kenyapithecus wickeri, and Gigantopithecus, the canine teeth were small in size compared to living apes like chimpanzees.