Sangeetha Pulapaka

In rhe 8 million years or so, since the earliest ancestors of humans diverged from the apes, atleast a dozen human life species called homonids have lived on the earth. And this list is getting longer. As scientists discover new fossils, the homonid family tree grows new branches.

But fossils are difficult to categorise as one species or another. Like all creatures, no two homonids were alike. Over the million of years, homonids changed, some diverged and became new species.

       At first glance, it seems there are far more questions than answers regarding the relationships among species on the hominid family tree. Nearly every ancestral line wears a question mark. And some species have no fewer than three other species leading from them. Indeed, our view of the origins of humankind is incomplete and the search for pieces to the puzzle continues. But to view the question marks on the hominid family tree merely as gaps in our knowledge belies the reality of evolution. Hominid species were changing over periods of hundreds of thousands of years, adapting to new environmental conditions. And so, given that the fossil record gives us only a glimpse of these evolving species, it's very difficult -- even unnatural -- to identify exactly when a species "became" something else. In order to begin to understand human evolution, however, scientists have had to take the fossils they have, analyze them, and categorize them based on similarities and differences. In this way, they are able to find trends among the species and a better understanding of how they came to be. In this way they have allowed us a glimpse into our ancient past -- a glimpse that will undoubtedly become clearer in years to come.

This is a picture of the homonids family tree 6 million years ago to recent.

A - Orronin tugenensis

B- Ardipithecus ramdius

C- Australopithecus anamensis

D- Australopithecus afarensis

E- Kenyanthropus platyops

F- Australopithecus africanus

G- Australopithecus aethiopicus

H- Australopithecus garthi

I- Australopithecus boisei

J- Homo habilis

K- Homo erectus

L- Australopithecus robustus

M- Homo heideolbergensis

N- Homo neanderthalens

O- Homo sapiens ( Us truly!)