Archaelogical Finds of Early Humans

Evolution embodies the overall changes of one or more inherited traits found in populations of different organisms over an extended period of time. Inherited traits or distinguishing characteristics include anatomical, biochemical and behavioral features that transferred over multi-generations. Evolution occurs when a variation of inherited traits exists within a population. The primary reasons for these variations stem from mutation, genetic recombination and gene flow. The process of evolution has been identified with the end result of diversification of all living creatures as described by Charles Darwin, the author of the "Origin of Species," a work of scientific literature describing the process of evolutionary biology.

Darwin described two common causes of evolutionary biology: natural selection, a process of differential survival and reproductive inherited traits, and genetic drift, a process involving random changes proportionally to two or more inherited traits within a population. The term "speciation" describes a single ancestral species dividing into two or more different species. Scientists can observe the anatomical, genetic and other reflections between different groups of organisms and the geographical disbursement of interrelated species. The origin of speciation traces back over three and a half billion years and occurs very slowly, steadily, gradually or rapidly from one phase to the next.

Human evolution or anthropogeny describes the origin, evolution and speciation of Homo sapiens from other hominids, great apes and mammals. The scientific study of evolution embodies various disciplines, including physical anthropology, primatology, archaeology, genetics and linguistics. The evolutionary cycle of the modern human refers to the genus "Homo." However, studies often trace back human evolution through other hominids, such as the Australopithecines, where the "Homo" genus emerged from about 2.3 to 2.4 million years ago on the modern continent of Africa. Scientists speculate that humans underwent a period of speciation along with the chimpanzees roughly 5 to 7 million years ago. 

7milion years ago-Sahelanthropus tchadensis: "Sahelanthropus tchadensis," one of the oldest known species on the human evolutionary tree, lived between 7 and 6 million years ago in the West-Central Africa region of modern-day Chad. Walking erect may have helped this species to survive the diverse landscapes, including forests and grasslands.

6 million years ago - Orrorin tugenensis: "Orrorin tugenensis" dates back to approximately 6 million years ago in the Tungen hills of Western Kenya. "Orrorin tugenensis" translates to "original man" in Tugen, the African spoken language in today's modern era.

5.5 million years ago - Australopithecus anamensis: Skeletal remains uncovered the A. anamensis, which preserves the direct evidence of "bipedalism," which theoretically occurred earlier than 4 million years ago. The evidence shows that the A. anamensis developed erect walking prior to disappearance in the woodlands of East Africa.

4.4 million years ago - Ardipithecus ramidus: The "Ardipithecus ramidus" has distinguishing characteristics from other hominid species, including its larger upper and lower canines that do not directly correlate with the post-canine teeth. A. Ramidus is often regarded as the earliest specimen in hominid ancestry with origins dating around 4.4 million years ago.

4.4 million years ago - Bipedal hominid: The earliest hominid fossils found in Ethiopia and Tanzania date a million years earlier and show signs of adaptation to bipedalism and a dental pattern with apelike overbites.

3.6-3.8 million years ago - Australopithecus afarensis: "A. afarensis" shared features with both apes and modern humans, which means other hominid groups directly evolved from this species. The A. afarensis display a larger size between each of them, and includes evidence of bipedalism as undiscovered by Mark Leakey.

3.5 million years ago - Kenyanthropus platyops: The "K. platyops" with different characteristics from the A. afarensis warrants its classification as separate genus with smaller, flat teeth and flat faces. It is believed that the A. afarensis and K. platyops competed for various food sources.

3.3 million years ago - Australopithecus: "Au. africanus" bore anatomical similarities in the apelike facial features of the "Au. afarensis." The "Au. africanus" had a rounder cranium when compared to the "Au. africanus," which means it had a larger brain and smaller teeth.

3.2 million years ago - Australopithecus bahrelghazali: This species is from the same time period as the A. anamensis. It was recovered from Koro Toro in Chad, which means it was the only australopithecus species from West Africa.

2.5 million years ago - Australopithecus africanus: The translated scientific name of this hominid species means "southern ape-man from Africa." It was first discovered by Dr. Raymond Dart in South Africa in 1920. 

2.5 million years ago - Paranthropus aethiopicus: All species of the genus "Paranthropus" were bipedal and lived during a time when the genus "Homo" started to grow in number. Most species of Paranthropus had a brain size about 40 percent the size of today's human. 

2 - 2.5 million years ago - Homo Erectus: Homo erectus allegedly evolved in Africa roughly 1.8 million years ago where it migrated first to Asia and then to Europe before coming into extinction less than one half million years ago.

2 million years ago - Paranthropus robustus: "Paranthropus robustus," an example of robust austhralopithecine, had enormous, broad cheek teeth with rugged enamel. This species focused their chewing at the back of the jaw.

1.9 million years ago - Homo habilis: Richard Leakey discovered the first fossilized remains of Homo habilis during the 1960s. H. habilis was a tool-making species, according to the claims made by Leakey.

1.9 million years ago - Homo rudolfensis or Homo habilis: The "H. rudolfensis" was originally considered to be H. habilis because of its larger cranium, longer face and molars.

1.78-1.95 million years ago - Australopithecus sedib (PDF): Recently discovered, the "A. sedib" species has a mixture of primitive and transitional characteristics. A. sedib has more derived features from the genus Homo than any other australopithecus. This discovery may reveal information about the origins of the genus Homo.

1.8 million years ago - Paranthropus boisei: P. boisei characterized by a specialized skull has adaptations for arduous chewing. It has a strong crest down the middle of the skull anchored to the large temporalis muscles.

1.8 million years ago - Homo georgicus: This species was finally named in 2002 with all other fossils found in Dmanisi, Georgia. An intermediate phase between H. habilis and H. erectus, it consisted of three partial skulls and lower jaws.

1.75 million years ago - Homo ergaster: The Homo erectus in the time period spanning 1.75 million years ago transitioned into the Homo ergaster, a separate species in Africa, while the Homo erectus was particularly found in Asia.

1.5 - 2 million years ago - Homo gautengensis: H. gautengensis lived in the trees to elude predators, yet still walked on two feet while on the ground. H. gautengensis stood 1 meter tall and weighed approximately 50 kgs.

1.6 million years ago - Homo erectus or Homo ergaster: Homo erectus and Homo ergaster simultaneously existed with Homo erectus living in South Asia and Homo ergaster living in Africa. The Homo erectus adapted to new environmental opportunities, which allowed them to migrate and develop new hunting skills, including the possibility to make fire.

780-858 thousand years ago - Homo antecessor or Homo erectus: Homo antecessor, an extinct human species dating from around 1.2 million to 800,000 years ago, lived in Europe. The two fossils found of H. antecessor are from Sierra de Atapuerca and Norfolk, England. Numerous human remains indicate that the sites exhibit cuts where flesh was removed from the bones, which means that the Homo antecessors ate each other.

400-500 thousand years ago - Homo erectus: Homo erectus of 400-500 years ago were out of Africa. The cranium size ranged from 1000-1250 cc., which made them large brained. H. erectus created fire and the Acheulian, a hand-ax made from a river cobble.

600 thousand years ago - Homo heidelbergenis: The remains of the heidelbergenis species were first discovered in sand pit near Heidelberg, Germany and date back to about 500 thousand years ago. The heidelbergenis was first disregarded with skepticism because of its lack of partial teeth from within the skull.

350 thousand years ago - Homo heidelbergenis or Homo neanderthalensis: This early human species had a large brow ride, large cranium and flatter face than older human species. This was the first species of its kind to live in a cold climate with short, wide bodies adapted to conserving heat.

250-500 thousand years ago - Homo erectus or Homo rhodesienis: Homo rhodesiensis or the Rhodesian man, a hominin species portrayed by the uncovered Kabw skull fossil, have other morphological remains in southern Africa and East Africa.

250 thousand years ago - Homo heidelbergensis or Homo erectus: Recent findings uncovered and suggest that the H. heiedlbergensis (Heidel Man) may have been the first to bury their dead after offering gifts. Experts also speculate that H. heidelbergensis acquired and spoke the first primitive form of language.

209 thousand years ago - Homo heidelbergensis or Homo sapiens: The Arago 21 dates to the species transition between the Homo heidelbergensis or Homo sapiens with physical features ranging in 1166 cc brain diameter, Broca's cap development, right parietal association development, right-handedness, lacking frontal boss, marked parietal boss, existence of an angular torus, low broad sagittal keel, a deep suborbital sulcus, short face and widened maxilla.

190 thousand years ago - Homo sapiens: Homo sapiens populations are known from the Middle East from about 100 thousand years ago and from east Asia as long as 67 hundred thousand years ago, and from southern Australia as long as 60 thousand years ago. European Homo sapiens have origins over 35 thousand years ago.

120 thousand years ago - Homo neanderthalensis (PDF): Homo neanderthalensis had an occipital bun, suprainiac fossa, a mastoid crest behind the auditory meatus, a juxtaposed crest behind the mastoid crest, proper position of the mastoid process, suborbital torus and the supratoral sulcus, receding frontal and presence of the lamboidal flatt.

125-75 thousand years ago - Homo sapiens: Homo sapiens in latin means "wise man," are the main linkage to modern human begins. Homo sapiens are one of the several species grouped into the genus "Homo," not yet extinct.

70 thousand years ago - Homo sapiens: Genetic evidence suggests that Homo sapiens engaged in incestural relations between 80-50 thousand years ago in the Middle East, which results in 1 to 4 percent of the Eurasian genome having contribution from the Neanderthals.

60 thousand years ago - Homo sapiens: The remains of more than 400 Neanderthals have been uncovered with the most controversial excavation happening in 1908, a skeleton that would have been considered an elderly gentleman by Neanderthal standards.

60 to 40 thousand years ago - Homo sapiens: Migration led Homo sapiens to Western Europe. About 40 thousand years ago, Homo sapiens began dispersing Neanderthals who became extinct 30 thousand years ago.

40 thousand years ago - Homo Neanderthalensis: Neanderthals looked pretty close to modern humans with the exception of height since most were shorter, more heavily built and much stronger, particularly in the arms and hands. The skulls of Neanderthals show that they had no chin, plus their foreheads sloped backwards.

27 to 35 thousand years ago - Homo erectus: The ancestral links of modern humans came about 1.5 million years ago with fossilized footprints emerging in Kenya.

36 thousand years ago - Homo sapiens: Homo sapiens begin to trade with strangers.

16 to 18 thousand years ago - Homo sapiens: A divergence between Homo Neadernthalensis and Homo sapiens occurred.

5.3 thousand years ago - Homo sapiens: Human species continues to evolve by forming cultural bonds.

1.5 thousand years ago - Homo sapiens: Humans develop agricultural farming.

1000 thousand years ago - Homo sapiens: Underlying theories of evolution affecting us in the last 1000 years.

500 years ago - Modern Humans: Human evolution still occurring underneath our noses: cultural and national clashes, conquest, and technological advances through intelligible studies.

100 years ago - Modern Humans: Technological advancements leading to potential leap in human evolution.

10 years ago - Modern Humans: Modern humans advance to mapping the human genome.

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