Neanderthals lived in Ice Age Europe until between 40,000 and 35,000 years ago, hunting woolly mammoths.Humans first evolved from ape-like creatures in Africa. The first hominids (human-like beings) probably appeared over five million years ago. These early kinds are known as Australopithecines. Many later kinds of hominids, including the ancestors of modern humans, evolved in Africa. The first hominids to leave Africa, called Homo erectus, reached Central Asia about 1.8 million years ago. Modern humans, whose scientific name is Homo sapiens, did not appear until relatively recently: about 200,000 years ago.
Aegyptopithecus was the earliest-known primate mammal belonging to the Anthropoidea, a group that includes monkeys, apes and...Read More >>Aegyptopithecus was the earliest-known primate mammal belonging to the Anthropoidea, a group that includes monkeys, apes and humans. Weighing about the same as a human baby, tiny Aegyptopithecus climbed on all fours.
Humans, apes and monkeys are all descended from a single ancestor. This may have been Aegyptopithecus, or “Egyptian Ape”, which was just 40 centimetres (16 inches) long. It lived in Egypt about 35 million years ago, climbing through the trees on all fours. Of all the descendants of this tiny mammal, only humans and their human-like ancestors developed bipedalism, the ability to walk upright and on two feet.
Australopithecus afarensis ("southern ape of Afar") was, perhaps, the first member of the human family of primates. Only about...Read More >>Australopithecus afarensis ("southern ape of Afar") was, perhaps, the first member of the human family of primates. Only about 1.2–1.5 m (4–5 ft) tall, it walked on two legs, although it might have spent some of its life in the trees.
The first evidence of human-like creatures, or hominids, dates back 7 million years. The earliest known hominids were Sahelanthropus tchadensis, which walked on two legs and lived 7–6 million years ago in north-central Africa.
Remains of later ape-like creatures, called Australopithecines (“southern apes”), have been found in various parts of northeastern Africa. There are now thought to be four different species, all of whom lived between 3.8 and 2.9 million years ago in what is known as the Horn of Africa. Australopithecines walked upright and were between 1 and 1.5 metres (3–5 feet) tall with long arms and short legs. They had a small brain in a low-browed skull. Australopithecines are believed to be the direct ancestors of modern humans.
The fossil skeleton of Lucy, an Australopithecus afarensis, our first known ancestor.
Many scientists now suspect that Homo ergaster and Homo erectus are actually the African (ergaster) and Asian (erectus) populations of the same species—Homo erectus.
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