Human Evolution Timeline

A Brief Account of Human Evolution Timeline for Young Minds

-Human Evolution Timeline-

You’re probably wondering how it all began, the human evolution timeline, how we intelligently evolved with time and we are now what we are today. It’s a lot of processes and we’ll be discussing all of them in this article.

Human Evolution Timeline

What is Evolution?

Living species emerge from simpler organisms through the process of evolution. Evolution, according to Charles Darwin (1809–1882), is based on a process known as natural selection.

Natural selection favors organisms that are most suited to the conditions in which they live, resulting in enhanced reproductive capacity.

Darwin proposed creatures evolve because of many minor changes. We will cover evolution in pre-human eras and human prehistory in this post.

 Writing had not yet evolved during prehistory. However, studying the fossil record yields a wealth of knowledge about prehistory.

Human Evolution

Human Evolution

People came from apelike predecessors through a long process of transformation known as human evolution. Between 2 million and 1.8 million years ago, ancient people traveled from Africa to Asia for the first time.

Scientific data suggest that the physical and behavioral characteristics common to all humans evolved over a six-million-year period from apelike ancestors.

Bipedalism, or the capacity to walk on two legs, is one of the earliest defining human characteristics. And have emerged around 4 million years ago.

Other essential human features are the large and complex brain. Also, the ability to create and use tools, and the ability to communicate, has just lately emerged.

Many advanced characteristics, like as rich symbolic expression, art, and elaborate cultural diversity, have only arisen in the last 100,000 years.

Neanderthals

Neanderthals

Homo neanderthalensis, a distinct species, shared a common ancestor with humans about 660,000 years ago and interbred with Homo sapiens between 45,000 and 80,000 years ago.

Neanderthals had fewer social and technological innovations than humans, despite having larger brains, and they finally died out.

Are Neanderthals our Cousins or Ancestors?

Homo neanderthalis, or Neanderthals as they are better known, is an extinct human species that lived between 250,000 and 28,000 years ago in ice-age Europe and Western Asia.

They had a receding forehead, and significant brow ridges, according to their description. In the Neander Valley in Düsseldorf, Germany, they unearthed the first Neanderthal fossil in 1856.

Since then, scientists have been trying to figure out where Homo neanderthalis fits into current human evolution.

Around 250,000 years ago, Homo neanderthalis arrived in Europe and expanded to the Near East and Central Asia. About 28,000 years ago, they vanished from the fossil record.

Sequencing the Neanderthal Genome

Sequencing the Neanderthal genome

Scientists from Germany and the United States sequenced the whole Neanderthal genome in 2010.

They also uncovered a new archaic human tribe known as the ‘Denisovans,’ named after the Siberian cave where the DNA was extracted from a fossil finger.

They gained a more precise Neanderthal genome sequence in 2013 from a 50,000-year-old Neanderthal toe bone discovered in the same cave in southern Siberia.

Long after an animal has died, it can find DNA in its bones. DNA from many bacteria that come into contact with the skeleton will infiltrate the bone throughout time.

Theories of Early Human Evolution

According to the savannah hypothesis, they forced hominins out of their trees and into the growing savannah. They began walking upright on two feet because of this.

The aridity theory elaborated on this idea, claiming that the savannah was expanding because of increasingly arid conditions, resulting in hominin adaption.

As a result, they compelled hominins to evolve and adapt during periods of extreme aridification.

According to the turnover pulse hypothesis, extinctions caused by environmental factors harm specialized species more than generalist species do.

When environmental conditions change, generalist species spread widely, but specialist species become more specialized and evolve at a faster rate.

How Did Humans Evolve?

Primates are mammals, much like humans. The ancient primate lineage split into two major groups around ten to twelve million years ago.

This is because of speciation in the development of new species throughout evolution.

These two lineages diverged and evolved into the many species we see today.

Members of one group were the ancestors of the contemporary great apes (gorillas, chimps, and bonobos in Africa, orangutans in Asia).

 They lived in the woods and had an arboreal lifestyle, which means they lived in trees. Great apes are also quadrupeds, meaning they walk on four legs on the ground.

The other group progressed in a different direction. They turned terrestrial, meaning they no longer live in trees and now live on land. They evolved from quadrupeds to bipeds, meaning they walk on their two back legs.

Background and Beginnings in the Miocene

We can find the taproot of the human family tree among apelike species from the Middle Miocene Epoch. This is approximately 16–11.6 mya Or Late Miocene Epoch (11.6–5.3 mya), according to most experts.

 Genetic data support A Late Miocene ancestry based on molecular clock calculations.

Various Eurasian and African Miocene primates are proposed as probable ancestors of early hominins who appeared during the Pliocene Epoch (5.3–2.6 million years ago).

 Kenyapithecus, Griphopithecus, Dryopithecus, Graecopithecus (Ouranopithecus), Samburupithecus, Sahelanthropus, and Orrorin are among the primates suggested.

Though there is no unanimity among scientists.

Early Human Species and Their Origin

From about 16–14, mya, Kenyapithecus lived in Kenya, and Griphopithecus lived in central Europe and Turkey. Dryopithecus was most famous in western and central Europe, where it lived between 13 and probably 8 million years ago.

Around 9 million years ago, Graecopithecus lived in northern and southern Greece, around the same time as Samburupithecus in northern Kenya.

Between 7 and 6 million years ago, Sahelanthropus lived in Chad. Orrorin lived 6 million years ago in central Kenya. Kenyapithecus or Griphopithecus may be the most plausible ancestor of great apes and humans among these.

Some evolutionary hypotheses claim Graecopithecus to be the lone ancestor of the human lineage. This includes Australopithecus, Paranthropus, and Homo sapiens.

Human Evolution Timeline

Human Evolution Timeline

Human evolution has taken many forms, but seven distinct periods of humanity stand out. Paleontology is a field filled with new findings.

Thus, the timeline’s specifics may change in the future, while the overall scheme is understood and accepted.

‣ Hominidae

Around 7 million years ago, the apes that would eventually evolve into today’s humans parted from the so-called lesser apes.

These are the great apes or Hominidae. The split of the human lineage from that of chimpanzees, humans’ closest living cousins, is estimated to have occurred about this time.

They have discovered many early hominid fossils in Kenya, showing that this split occurred in Africa. In terms of which creature eventually evolved into modern humans rather than dying out, there are several candidates.

‣ Ardipithecus Ramidus

In 1994, Ethiopians discovered the existence of this species, which appeared to combine walking and swinging in trees.

About 4.5 million years ago, Ardipithecus ramidus appeared. The best estimations of this creature’s size place it at only 4 feet tall and weighing around 110 pounds.

 Although this is only for females, as no male remains large enough to determine adult size has yet been discovered.

‣ Australopithecines Afarensis

Australopithecines are the earliest known hominins. This group comprised several species. They lived in Africa between 4 million and 2.5 million years ago, according to fossils.

 “Lucy,” a fragmentary skeleton discovered in Ethiopia, is one of the most renowned of these fossils. They estimate the age of these bones to be around 3 million years.

The australopithecines exhibited apelike characteristics. Their brains, for example, were significantly smaller than present human brains.

They could also easily climb trees. They did, however, walk on two feet like humans. Scientists discovered this by researching fossilized leg, knee, foot, and pelvis bones.

They also discovered a set of footprints in Tanzania that are preserved on the ground.

‣ Homo Habilis

Homo is the genus (species group) that contains modern people like us, as well as our most distant extinct ancestors. Organisms of the same species can reproduce and generate viable progeny.

In 1964, the renowned paleoanthropologist Louis Leakey and his team discovered Homo habilis (meaning handyman).

Homo habilis was the oldest Homo species ever discovered. Over 2.8 million years ago, Homo habilis appeared in Tanzania (East Africa), and 1.5 million years ago, it became extinct.

They were terrestrial and stood around 1.40 meters tall. The shape of their cranium distinguished them from Australopithecus.

The shape was spheroid (round), like a modern human’s head, rather than piriform (pear-shaped).

‣ Homo Erectus

In Asia, in 1891, Eugene Dubois (also a paleoanthropologist) discovered the first fossil of Homo erectus. This means an upright man, which appeared 1.8 million years ago.

This fossil received several names. The best known are Pithecanthropus (ape-man) and Sinanthropus (Chinese-man). 

Homo erectus appeared in East Africa and migrated to Asia, where they carved refined tools from stone. Dubois also brought some shells of the time of H erectus from Java to Europe.

Contemporary scientists studied these shells and found engravings that dated from 430,000 and 540,000 years ago.

They concluded that H. erectus individuals could express themselves using symbols.

‣ Homo Heidelbergensis

They discovered the hominid in Germany in 1908. They thought it to be the first human progenitor to have lived in frigid regions, extending over Europe and Asia, and parts of Africa.

 Its time span was from 700,000 to 200,000 years ago, and these hominids were roughly the same size as modern humans.  

The men can reach an average height of about 5′ 9″ and females reach an average height of about 5′ 2″. They undoubtedly hunted with spears and cooked their kills over the fire.

‣ Homo Neanderthalensis

Several Homo species emerged following H. erectus and quite a few coexisted for some time. The best-known one is Homo neanderthalensis .

It is usually called Neanderthals and is the European branch. They originated from two lineages that diverged around 400,000 years ago. The second branch (lineage) Homo sapiens is the African branch.

 The first Neanderthal fossil dates from around 430,000 years ago. They found it in La Sima de Los Huesos in Spain and is considered originating from the common ancestor called Homo heidelbergensis.

Neanderthals used many of the natural resources in their environment: animals, plants, and minerals. 

‣ Homo Sapiens

Fossils unearthed recently in Morocco (North Africa) have added to the raging controversy over how H. sapiens expanded after their origin 315,000 years ago.

The discovery of these fossils could show that Homo sapiens traveled throughout Africa. Similarly, the dispersal of fossils from Africa showed their migration to other continents.

Hypotheses center on either a single dispersal or several dispersals out of the African continent, which is hotly discussed.

H. sapiens was present in Israel 180,000 years ago, even if the genesis of the migration to Europe is still a point of contention.

As a result, it’s possible that migration to Europe came indirectly through a stay in Israel rather than directly from Africa.

The Neolithic Revolution

We also know the Neolithic Period as the New Stone Age. This is owing to the development of new stone technology at the period.

The Neolithic Epoch began 11,700 years ago, with the end of the glacial period. During the Neolithic Period, humans’ lifestyles changed dramatically.

Early humans lived in populous villages, according to ruins discovered in Mesopotamia. Most roaming hunter-gatherers became sedentary farmers after introducing agriculture.

Farmers favored sheepdogs over hunting dogs used by hunter-gatherers. Humans were farming and herding goats and sheep during the Neolithic period.

The Aurochs (extinct wild cattle) seen in the Lascaux cave paintings are early predecessors of today’s domesticated cows.

Effects of the Neolithic Revolution on Society

The traditional notion is that the change in agricultural food production enabled people to grow more densely. Larger sedentary populations, the accumulation of products and tools, and specialization in many sorts of new labor will all benefit from this.

When resources were more plentiful, a population might grow more quickly overall.

Because of the larger societies that resulted, different methods of decision-making and governmental organization emerged.

Food surpluses enabled the rise of a labor-free social elite that ruled over their communities and monopolized decision-making.

Deep social divisions and inequality existed between the sexes, with women’s standing deteriorating as men assumed larger leadership and warrior roles.

Periods In Sumerian History

Farmers who brought irrigation agriculture to southern Mesopotamia during the Ubaid period (6500-4100 BCE) established the first town in southern Mesopotamia.

During this time, there was a lot of distinctive, highly painted pottery.

Several shifts occurred during the Uruk period (4100-2900 BCE). For the first time, pottery was mass-produced. Second, commercial commodities flowed through southern Mesopotamia’s canals.

Large cities with temples are also common. They arose to make this transaction easier. They used slaves as trade laborers.

In contrast to pictograms, writing became commonplace and decipherable during the Early Dynastic period (2900-2334 BCE).

They mentioned several lords in the Gilgamesh Epic, including Gilgamesh himself, who were most likely historical monarchs.

Etana, the 13th king of Kish’s first dynasty, was the first dynastic king. War was on the rise, and cities built walls to protect themselves.

Fossil Evidence of Evolution Theories

Fossil Evidence of Evolution Theories

By 3.5 million years ago, at least one hominin species, Au. afarensis, was an adept walker. Besides anatomic evidence from this time, there is also a 27.5-meter (90-foot) trackway produced by three individuals.

They walked at a leisurely pace on moist volcanic ash at Laetoli in northern Tanzania.

In all observable features of foot shape and walking pattern, they are astonishingly similar to those of habitually barefoot people who live in the tropics today.

Although the feet of the Laetoli hominins appear to be strikingly human, one should not assume that other parts of their bodies were as similar to ours.

‣ Sahelenthropus Tchadensis

Only the skull parts of this ancient creature, which lived 6 to 7 million years ago. They discovered it in west-central Africa in 2001.

S. tchadensis had a chimp-like brain, could walk on two legs (albeit not totally bipedally). It had a spinal hole beneath its cranium, smaller canine teeth, and a prominent forehead ridge. As a result, it was exceedingly apelike.

Read Also:

‣ Orrorin Tugenensis

In 2001, a 6.2 to 5.8 million-year-old skeleton of this hominid was discovered in eastern Africa. It possessed teeth and hands, could walk upright but could also climb trees, had little human-like teeth.

It had about the size of a modern chimp.

‣ Ardipithecus Kadabba

This human progenitor lived between 5.8 and 5.2 million years ago. Its bones (jaw, teeth, hand and foot bones, and arm and clavicle bones).

They discovered it in eastern Africa in 1997. These fossils show that the new species was bipedal and lived mostly in forests and grasslands (an apelike trait).

‣ Ardipithecus Ramidus

They discovered some remains of this species in 1994, and a fragmentary skeleton named “Ardi” in 2009. It lived in the woods and walked erect with opposable toes to climb trees.

‣ Australopithecus Afarensis

afarensis, also known as “Lucy,” lived in eastern Africa between 3.85 and 2.95 million years ago, making it the longest-living pre-human species.

Over 300 pre-human fossils of A. They discovered afarensis, showing that this hominid grew quickly as a youngster and matured faster than contemporary humans.

 Lucy has an apelike face, a brain that was larger than that of a chimp but smaller than that of modern humans and little canines.

It was bipedal, but could still climb trees. And because it could live in both trees and on the ground, it could withstand various long-term climate changes.

‣ Australopithecus Africanus 

This hominid lived in southern Africa for between 3.3 and 2.1 million years. They discovered it in 1924. It possessed small, human-like teeth, a larger brain, and a more rounded braincase than humans (like humans have).

This bipedal creature possessed apelike traits (e.g., long arms, a strong jutting jaw beneath a sloping face, and shoulders and hands adapted for climbing).

‣ Homo Habilis

One of the first known ancestors in our own genus (Homo), and is a hominid which translates as “handyman”. Homo habilis has been existent from 2.4 million to 1.4 million years ago in Eastern and Southern Africa.

Homo habilis is thought to be one of the first species to create stone tools. It had apelike features like long arms and an apelike face, but it also possessed a large braincase and small teeth.

It has used tools.

‣ Homo Erectus

1.89 million To 143,000 years ago, this species migrated from Africa and (out of Africa) into Asia. Homo ergaster is the name given to the oldest species.

It possessed human-like body proportions, ate a lot of meat and vegetation, lived nearly entirely on the ground, and grew a larger brain and braincase.

This early human, according to fossil evidence, was the longest-lived of all the early hominid species. Caring for it young, old, and sick. It could spread far and wide because of its capacity to walk and sprint enormous distances.

‣ Homo Heidelbergensis

These hominids were the first hominids in Europe. They also existed in China and East Africa 700,000 to 200,000 years ago.

They were the first species to live in colder regions, with short, broad bodies to keep warm.

These European hominids employed tools and fire, built “homes” out of wood and rocks, were the first species to hunt enormous animals.

They were Neanderthals’ direct forebears. The brain size of H. heidelbergensis was comparable to that of modern humans.

Human Adaptations

One of the most important human evolutionary adaptations is bipedalism or upright walking. Bipedalism has several advantages, including the ability to use one’s hands for labor and less physically demanding movement.

Walking upright provides for better long-distance travel and hunting, as well as a larger range of view and less skin exposure to the sun. It also flourishes in a savannah habitat.

Legs, knee and ankle joints, spinal vertebrae, toes, and arms all changed because of bipedalism.

The pelvis became shorter and rounder, with a smaller birth canal, making human birth more challenging than that of other primates.

As a result, the gestation period was reduced (as babies need to be born before their heads become too large).

Evolution of the Human Brain Timeline

The human brain has around 100 billion neurons, over 100,000 kilometers of interconnections, and a storage capacity of 1.25 billion bytes (Cherniak, 1990; Hofman, 2012).

These astounding figures have led to the conclusion that our cognitive skills are almost limitless. However, the human brain evolved from a collection of underlying structures.

This limits its growth and the quantity of data it can store and process.

If an organism’s ability to interpret information about its environment is a driving factor in evolution, the more information a system, such as a brain, receives and the faster it can process that information, the faster it will evolve.

Principles of Brain Evolution

If we assume that biological intelligence in higher organisms results from complex sensory information.

This is possible through processing and mental faculties that plan, executant, and evaluation of intelligent behavior, then differences in intelligence between species should theoretically be visible in the neural substrate.

FAQs

1. How Many Human Species Existed 100,000 Years Ago?

We can never be confident that we have discovered the first or final representative of any species, but H. Erectus last appearance date of 100,000 years ago seems realistic. H. Erectus left a lasting impression.

2. Did the Evolution of Humans go Slowly?

Humans have always been changing and will continue to do so in the future. Evolution is a slow process that occurs through many generations of reproduction.

Because humans take so slow to breed, changes in humans can take hundreds to thousands of years to manifest.

3. Were Humans from 200,000 Years Ago 100% Humans?

Most likely. Homo Erectus was the first human a million years ago. They were also slightly less intelligent. However, around their campsites, we discovered flaked stone points. 

4. Have Humans Evolved from Bacteria Millions of Years Ago?

No, not millions of years-2.5 billion. Around 3.5 billion years ago bacteria were present, followed half a billion years later by another domain of life, archea.

Another billion years down the line, eukaryotes were born.

5. What was Life like for Humans that Lived 200000 Years Ago?

The Pleistocene, which lasted 200,000 years, was an era when the world was undergoing glaciers. There had been a brief period of stability, but the globe was about to enter another glacial period.

It was on the verge of a lengthy and devastating climate collapse.

6. What did Modern Humans evolve from? – Homo Erectus?

Yes, Modern humans originated in Africa within the past 200,000 years and evolved from their most likely recent common ancestor, Homo erectus

All of our close cousins eventually died out. Leaving Homo sapiens as the only human species, despite the genetic ancestry they supplied to living individuals.

Their disappearance raises yet another intriguing, possibly unanswerable issue about our evolution. The question is why were we the only humans to survive?

We hope you find this interesting? Please share with your family and friends. 

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.