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Although the hominin fossil record is dominated by durable teeth — which reveal diet, age of death, pace of growth and much more — here we will focus, briefly, on the tales of two other significant human traits that are well documented in the hominin lineage: our big brains and our bipedal bodies.

Of course, humans are not the only animals to have extremely large brains for their body sizes (to be highly encephalized).

The term can also be applied to larger groups of organisms, as in "the adaptive radiation of mammals." adaptive strategies: A mode of coping with competition or environmental conditions on an evolutionary time scale.

Species adapt when succeeding generations emphasize beneficial characteristics.

Amandus Kwekason of the National Museum of Tanzania and Dr.Then, even if circumstances change such that it no longer provides any survival or reproductive advantage, the behavior will still tend to be exhibited -- unless it becomes positively disadvantageous in the new environment.adaptive radiation: The diversification, over evolutionary time, of a species or group of species into several different species or subspecies that are typically adapted to different ecological niches (for example, Darwin's finches).Genetic studies estimate that gorillas split off from other apes about 9 million to 8 million years ago, and that the ancestors of bonobos and chimpanzees began evolving separately from the ancestors of humans 7 million to 6 million years ago. But the fossil record of hominins (species more closely related to humans than to chimps) preserves snapshots of the how the evolutionary path of our lineage differs from theirs.Unfortunately, the fossil record of chimpanzee and bonobo evolution is small enough to fit into a coat pocket, but the fossil evidence for human evolution is far greater: there are hundreds of specimens, including many nearly complete skeletons and many well-preserved skulls.

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