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2009 | 58 | 3-4 | 559-570
Article title

Pochodzenie i ewolucja człowieka

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Human origins and evolution
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Fossil and genetic evidence show that the history of bipedal primates (hominids) began approximately six million years ago. At that time in Africa lived an common ancestor, from which two evolutionary lineages arose and then diverged - one of these line­ages led to us - Homo sapiens, and the other - to our most recent living relative - the chimpanzee. In this paper a review of the hominid fossils is presented - paleontological proofs of evolution, which were lacking then to Darwin. Beginning with the earliest known hominids (including the Plio-Pleistocene australopithecines and Ardipithecus), I discuss the fossil record of the early representatives of the genus Homo, through archaic forms of humans (and their most recent representatives - the Neandertals), up to early anatomically modern Homo sapiens. Paleoanthropologists differ in their perception and interpretation of hominid history - the phylogenetic tree, and the number of hominid species that should be included there. Some scholars distinguish as many as 23 hominid taxa; others only 10. Although anthropologists generally agree that in the Pliocene and early Pleistocene many species of early hominids can be distinguished, the nomenclature for the genus Homo has been a matter of considerable controversy. This paper favours the view that beginning with the origin of Homo erectus, human evolution proceeded along a single lineage, and that Homo sapiens appeared not as a result of speciation (cladogenesis), but as a continuation of H. erectus populations.
Physical description
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