Archaeology

Human Evolution a Timeline



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Ever since Darwin's "Origin of Species," evolution has been acknowledged as the basis for knowing how mankind came into existence. Different scientists have explored many theories to describe how early primates turned into humans as we see ourselves today. It is generally agreed that humanity had some specific ancestors.

6 million years ago
The first upright hominids came into being at this time. This is also the time where the human and ape evolutionary lines split. One of the species of this time was the Orrorin tugenensis. It was one of the first primate creatures to walk on two legs. It was about the size of a chimpanzee and probably was more of an ape than a human. It lied on a diet of fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

3 million yeas ago
The next main step in humanity's evolutionary chain was Australopithecus africanus. This animal looked more like humans than any other previous ancestors. However, there were some differences. For one, it had longer arms than legs, a trait frequently found in some primates. Also, this is when the different human genders started to develop different skeletons.

Homo habilis evolved from Australopithecus africanus. It was the first animal in the "homo" genus. The species still wasn't very tall and possessed the longer arms like chimpanzees. It had less than half the size of the space in the skull that humans have. It was one of the first human ancestors to use stone tools, but it didn't use them for hunting. They were mainly used for scavenging. It also expanded out of Africa and into Asia and parts of Europe.

1.7 million years ago
Homo erectus was the next major stage in human evolution. It is thought to be the first humanoid to control fire and spawned many different subspecies. It is also a direct ancestor of modern humans. They look much like people today, except there was a greater difference between the size of the male and female. They also had smaller brains. H. erectus was one of the first species to be called hunter-gatherers.

500,000 years ago
Homo sapiens evolved from Homo erectus around 500,000 years ago. It is known for cave-painting and probably the introduction of language. This point though is up for contention. They were generally dark-skinned, with the light skin only developing in the last 12,000 years. They were also known to develop thoughts of typical human characteristics.

100,000 years ago
This is the time period where humans branched off into different races. Asians and modern-day African developed their modern traits. However, light-skin didn't come until the end of the last ice age. Most of the traits humans have were developed by this time.
Around this time Neanderthal humans appeared. Long though to be an ancestor of humans, it has recently been proven that they aren't humanity's ancestors and didn't interbreed. They mostly lived in modern-day Europe. They also were known for burying their dead. They died out around 30,000 years ago. If dressed in modern clothes, it is said they would be indistinguishable from modern day humans.

The Future?
Who knows how humans will evolve in the future? Humanity is evolving all the time. The difference is it isn't major changes in our species. Humans have developed immunities to certain diseases very recently in our history. Like said before, light skin has only come about in the past 12,000 years. The same goes for blue eyes and red hair. One thing for sure, the human race is always changing.

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