Why did man develop a jaw more evolutionarily?

The rise of man

The upright walk

When it all began, the universe and the earth were billions of years old. Man is late. At some point he got down from the trees, left the forest and practiced life in the steppe.

In the tall grass it was important to keep an overview in order to spot prey from a distance and also to avoid becoming prey of a predator yourself. The upright gait became the first essential characteristic of the human body and was the first great revolution in its development.

This revolution led to the division of labor of the limbs. Legs and feet took over the locomotion, arms and hands became free to grasp and hold. The snout, the animals' most important grasping organ, has now also regressed, and the canine teeth have become smaller.

The four stages of human development

1. Great ape or ape-man? The so-called Australopithecus lived around 2 million years before our time in Africa and Asia and is well documented in fossil finds. Its brain volume was significantly larger than that of the great apes, and its teeth largely resembled those of modern humans. With him, evolution seems to be about to take a decisive leap.

2. It has been around for about 1 million years Homo erectus verifiable. It has a strong over-eye roof and a pronounced jaw. The cross-section of the skull with a distinct bulge in the middle is particularly typical. Its traces are concentrated in Southeast Asia (China and Java), in South and North Africa and in Europe.

3. In 1856, while walking in the Neandertal near Düsseldorf, Johann Fuhlrott discovered a skull fragment, rib and shoulder bones that were similar to people today, but also showed clear differences.

Immediately there was a violent argument. Was that the representative of an extinct human race or just a deformed specimen? Little by little, more and more evidence emerged that proved the Neanderthals to be a group of people that existed about 80,000 to 35,000 years before our time and were at home in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

4. The has been around for around 35,000 years homo sapiens with its steep forehead and evenly rounded skull. He is today's man and was able to spread worldwide over the land bridges of the continents.

In view of the enormous periods of time, the finds are still sparse. They leave a lot of room for interpretation. The researchers are also careful not to assert a logical sequence of stages of development. Some groups existed side by side.

Fire and tools

When looking for the characteristics that clearly distinguish humans from animals, the researcher is not only interested in physical characteristics. At every find they hope for traces of a spiritual activity. Only when the most primitive cultural behavior can be proven, one speaks of a human being.

Its most important achievement in prehistoric times is undoubtedly the taming of fire. People learned to capture it, "feed" it and produce it themselves. No animal was capable of it. The fire gave people light at night and warmth in winter. It preserved food and aided in tooling. It was the number one survival factor.

As soon as the early humans mastered the upright gait, they used their "tool", their hands, to make other tools. They proceeded according to plan and discovered better and better solutions.

The most important raw material was the stone. The paleolithic hand axes show amazing similarities throughout the settlement area. Apparently the wandering hordes had contacts. The economic basis was the gathering of fruits and roots and hunting. The attack hunt with butt spears and the trapping of the animals in pitfalls can be proven.

Society and culture

With the appearance of humans, a living being had emerged that was aware of its own existence and whose intellectual abilities became the engine of its future.

One can only speculate about the forms of society in primeval times. Despite strong similarities with animal life forms, one can assume the first social behaviors that developed from the spiritual possibilities of humans.

An important indicator is the burial of the dead. The shape of the grave and grave goods testify to an idea of ​​how life will survive after death. Frequent double graves (man and woman) and careful child burials reveal the special role of the family.

One can only speculate about the religious ideas of our ancestors. Undoubtedly they lived on a "magical" level of culture. Forces of nature, disease and the constant threat of predators created a basic feeling of fear. Behind everything there were good and bad spirits who could be made gracious with sacrificial rituals (including human sacrifices).


Around 35,000 years ago, people made their first attempts to be artistically active. In the back of some caves, which were apparently also used as places of worship, one discovered wall paintings and traces of cultic dances. Animal drawings are to be interpreted as hunting magic. Small, female figures with pronounced breasts and hips emphasize the miracle of fertility.

In general, one suspects a strong matriarchal trait for the Stone Age. The caves of Lascaux (France) and Altamira (Spain) show what artistic heights early painters were capable of. Entire picture rooms were created here, which will forever be part of the pinnacle of human creativity.