The purpose of this research is to examine human origins. The plan of the research will be to set forth the context in which the development of the species Homo sapiens can be elaborated and then to discuss theoretical and experimental work regarding such phenomena as "Lucy" and other extinct precursors of the family Hominidae, as well as theories that propose the onset of human evolution from 112,000 to 124,000 years ago.
The popular culture is full of controversy regarding divisions between modern man (as denoted in the professional literature) and extinct precursor species of it. Notwithstanding the sociocultural controversy surrounding Darwin's theory of evolution, scientific investigation of the origins of human beings has evolution at its core.
In the first quarter of the twentieth century, the generally accepted model of explanation for the emergence of the species Homo sapiens, distinguished by a greater cranial capacity than its morphological ancestors, revolved around classification of Pleistocene primate hominid fossils found in various parts of the world. A strict theory of the fully evolved Homo sapiens is based on strict anatomical criteria such as brain size and cranial capacity (1,350 cubic centimeters), rounded forehead, and fully upright posture capacity (Clark, 1955, passim). As more fossils have been uncovered, however, various, competing theories have arisen regarding human origins.
The term modern man is identified as the most paleontologically and geologically recent in the line of evolved primates Homo sapiens. Within the biological family known as Hominidae, or biped primate mammals, intellect (sapiens = wise in Latin) distinguishes the human species from other, extinct primate Hominidae such as Australopithecus and Homo erectus ("Human life," 1981, pp. 210-11). As Robinson (1981, p. 438-9) points out, Homo erectus is man, not man-ape. But the genus Homo sapiens is as different from it as ma...