Illustration of a Homo habilis group butchering an antelope, in what is now the Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. H. habilis is one of several extinct hominin species that form an early part of the human evolutionary tree. They lived between 2 and 1.6 million years ago in East Africa during the Pleistocene. They had a brain size just less than half that of modern humans. The name Homo habilis means 'handy man', adopted because the species used primitive stone tools.