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Last updated date: 08th Dec 2023
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MVSAT Dec 2023

In Homo habilis, ‘habilis’ refers to
A. Tool maker
B. Modern man
C. Ancient man
D. Wandering species

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Hint: Homo habilis lived between about 2.3 and 1.5 million years ago. They evolved in East Africa and its possible ancestor is Australopethicus.

Complete Answer:
- Homo habilis was small-bodied with an average height of 4 feet 3 inches and had a larger brain than Australopithecus with a cranial capacity of 510 cc.
- Facial projection was less compared to the earlier species and had a more rounded brain due to the expansion of the brain. This species is the most ancient representative of the human genus but various discoveries of fossils throughout the year showed that they were more ape-like.
- However, the bones of arms and legs suggested that they were more Homo-like. The evidence indicated that they walked on two legs, had long arms, slightly curvier finger bones and human-like ability to form an accurate grip.
- H. habilis retained the primitive features that connected it to Australopiths. They mostly lived in grassland environments and the species mainly consumed vegetarian diet with some meat.
- The first evidence of Homo habilis was found by Louis Leakey and Mary Leakey. In 1955, a milk tooth was discovered at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania and then in 1959 Mary Leakey found a young adult cranium which had small canines and large chewing teeth. Homo habilis is believed to be the first to use tools for survival.

Hence the correct option is Option A, ‘toolmaker’.

These tools were made from volcanic rock cobbles. This is the characteristic that made Homo habilis similar to humans and different from primates. These stone tools were classified as Mode 1 technology and included choppers, core tools, and smaller flakes used as scrappers.

Note: As they were discovered in Oldowan Gorge, Tanzania in East Africa, they are also called Oldowan stone tools.