" This is Habilis, our next ape."— Allen Johnson, about Homo Habilis
Homo habilis is a species of the Hominini tribe, which lived from approximately 2.33 to 1.44 MYA, during the Gelasian Pleistocene period.
While there has been scholarly controversy regarding its placement in the genus Homo rather than the genus Australopithecus, its brain size has been shown to range from 550 cm3 to 687 cm3, rather than from 363 cm3 to 600 cm3 as formerly thought. They were the first people to use simple tools and make shelters. They had used sharp rocks to break into the bone for the nutritious bone marrow, something the other animals could not do.
These more recent findings concerning brain size favor its traditional placement in the genus Homo, as does the need for the genus to be monophyletic if H. habilis is indeed the common ancestor.In the second episode of Walking with Cavemen, they are shown taking a carcass from a tiger, unsuccessfully at first. They then have to fight a troop of Homo rudolfensis for it. Their leader is later killed by the lion in this struggle, leaving the Homo habilis troop without a leader. They are also contrasted with Paranthropus boisei, who became specialized for a herbivorous lifestyle instead and flourish, while Homo habilis do not.
Later, however, it is shown that Homo habilis survives, while its relatives, Paranthropus boisei and Homo rudolfensis survived, just as many other Pliocene mammals do. They may have survived due to the fact that they could do something that the Homo rudolfensis could not; breaking into the bone with simple stone tools for the tasty bone marrow inside. This, in turn, makes them smarter than Paranthropus boisei and Homo rudolfensis, further ensuring survival. It is then shown that they are soon getting the next prehistoric human, Homo ergaster.