The History of Human Evolution: Stages, Timelines, and Key Phases
The first primates initially appeared 55 million years ago, marking the beginning of the history of human evolution. The scientific investigation of evolution studies how attributes of a group of species develop over the course of successive generations. In their studies on the emergence of humans, professionals have put forward that defunct non-human primates, as well as other organisms that looked like humans in previous generations, gave birth to the present humans.
Natural preference is a notion consequential to the supposition of human development and was suggested by prominent biologist Charles Darwin. Natural choice is the technique through which an organism’s genetic makeup develops over time to make it more capable of thriving in its environment. Darwin did pioneering work in the area of human evolution. One of the most important lessons to be learned from Darwin’s theory is that all living things on Earth descend from a single ancestor. Darwin also asserted that apes are the last living cousins of modern humans.
A substantial amount of genetic data was gathered on Darwin’s assertions on the connections between apes and the timing of human development. This, over time, has allowed researchers to determine the precise 94% similarity between the genetic makeup of humans and apes.
Introduction To Human Evolution:
The capacity to walk on two legs marked the beginning of the change from apes to humans. Bipedalism is the term for this. The species Sahelanthropus tchadensis was one of the oldest known progenitors of humans, a subject we shall cover in greater detail later in this article. Around 6 million years ago, “Sahelanthropus tchadensis” was the first species to start walking on two legs. Homo sapiens, the species to which all modern humans belong, did not arise for around 5 million years after this shift. Numerous diverse human species lived, developed, and perished during this significant gap in the history of human evolution.
These animals underwent progressive evolution, growing in sophistication and intelligence through time, ultimately making them more suitable for surviving in the environment. According to information acquired by experts, Homo sapiens are thought to have their origins in Africa. According to studies, several human ancestry groups were dispersed over Africa and coexisted in isolation before being driven to mix by a changing environment.
The Timeline Of Human Evolution:
Now that we are aware of what human evolution truly entails, we may discuss the timeline of human evolution in more depth. 55 million years ago, to be exact, is when it all started:
55 million years ago: Primates evolved from their earliest forms.
8 to 6 million years ago: The very first gorillas developed. Following this, the various chimpanzee and human lineages start to diverge from one another.
5.8 million years ago: As the earliest known human ancestor is said to have started walking on two legs, bipedalism is introduced. Orrorin tugenensis, the species, is this ancestor.
5.5 million years ago: The ape Ardipithecus has attributes with chimpanzees and gorillas. The habitat of this organism is forests.
4 million years ago: Australopithecine primates, a kind of primate, appear. These primates walk on two hind legs and have brains that are equivalent in size to chimpanzees. The first known human ancestors to inhabit the Savannah were the Australopithecines.
3.2 million years ago: Australopithecus afarensis lived in Hadar, Ethiopia, according to a specimen of its skeletal fossils found in East Africa in 1974. Since then, this specimen has gone by the name Lucy.
2.7 million years ago: At this period, Paranthropus, a species of ape, inhabited meadows and woodlands. These primates possessed enormous jaws that they used to chew on rough plant material and roots. This species vanished about 1.2 million years ago.
2.5 million years ago: Homo habilis as a species first emerged. The face of this species is notably less projecting yet nevertheless retains many characteristics of apes. During this period, hominids also started using stone tools, which they made by breaking stones more often. At this stage in the development of humans, certain hominids also started consuming a lot of meat. Due to the rise in meat-eating and the resulting increase in energy, hominids were able to grow their brains bigger.
2 million years ago: In Africa, remains from this era of the ape Homo ergaster have been discovered. Compared to earlier species, this ape had a larger brain.
1.8 to 1.5 million years ago: Asia is the location of the Homo erectus species. The earliest living examples of hunters and gatherers are primates. They were also the first in substantial numbers to travel outside of Africa. This species’ brain is much larger, with a capacity of about 1000 cm3.
1.6 million years ago: Based on relics discovered in Kenya, it is thought that this period of time saw the earliest usage of fire. Additionally, more sophisticated stone tools were being made and utilised around this period. The majority of early humans continued to use these tools up until about 100,000 years ago.
600,000 years ago: Homo Heidelbergensis is a species that now exists in Africa and Europe. The brain size of this species of monkeys was quite comparable to that of modern humans.
500,000 years ago: This is the period when the earliest signs of intentionally constructed shelters first appeared. The homes were made of wood, and they were discovered in Japan close to Chichibu.
400,000 years ago: The first people began using spears for hunting.
325,000 years ago: It is possible to date the first human footprints to 325,000 years ago. These footsteps are said to have been made by three individuals scaling a volcano in Italy.
280,000 years ago: More sophisticated stone blades and grinding stones were created.
230,000 years ago: Neanderthals started to appear about this time. They may be found all throughout Europe, from Iran to Britain. When modern humans took over about 28,000 years ago, they finally died extinct.
195,000 years ago: Homo sapiens, or modern humans as we know them, initially appeared during this period. Human migration spans Asia and Europe. This is the time frame for the earliest indications of Homo sapiens remains. Two human skulls were among the bones that were discovered in Ethiopia. The average human brain’s volume at this period was 1350 cm3.
170,000 years ago: It is thought that around this period, Africa was home to the first direct progenitor of all modern humans. This progenitor is known as Mitochondrial Eve by scientists.
150,000 years ago: Humans acquired the capacity for speech. Evidence suggests that around this period, Homo sapiens began to create a sophisticated system of symbolism and speech.
140,000 years ago: Long-distance trading was first observed 140,000 years ago, according to fossil evidence.
50,000 years ago: Human culture begins to evolve at a significantly quicker rate at this stage in the timeline of human evolution. A few cultural shifts were the adoption of ritualistic burial practices, the production of clothing from animal skin, and the development of more clever, efficient hunting methods.
33,000 years ago: The oldest indications of cave art date around 33,000 years ago. At this period, Homo erectus became extinct entirely in Asia and was replaced by modern humans.
18,000 years ago: On the Indonesian island of Flores, there is a species of diminutive, prehistoric humans known as Homo Floresiensis. These prehistoric people are a little over a metre tall, and their brains are around the same size as chimpanzees’. But unlike chimps, these people did have sophisticated stone tools.
12,000 years ago: The Americas became home to modern people.
10,000 years ago: Agriculture started to grow and swiftly spread over the world. The development of the early settlements is related to the expansion of agriculture. It’s also believed that at this time, dogs were initially tamed and kept as pets.
5,500 years ago: The Bronze Age starts, and the Stone Age ends. As a new era began, humanity started using copper and tin tools instead of the stone ones they had previously used.
5,000 years ago: The oldest known example of writing comes from this era.
4,000 to 3,500 years ago: The Mesopotamian Ancient Sumerians created the world’s first civilization.
Key Stages In The Timeline Of Human Evolution:
In the history of human evolution, there have been seven major phases. These are what they are:
- Dryopithecus: Believed to be both humans’ and apes’ ancestors.
- Ramapithecus: Mostly on wide meadows where they lived. They fall within the category of hominids.
- Australopithecus: Lived on the earth, moved on two legs, and used stones as weapons.
- Homo Erectus: The species thought to connect humans with apes.
- Homo Sapiens Neanderthalensis: Two subspecies of Homo sapiens emerged when Homo erectus evolved into Homo sapiens. Neanderthal Homo sapiens was one of these species.
- Homo Sapiens Sapiens: Homo sapiens sapiens was the other subspecies of Homo sapiens.
- Homo sapiens: The current population of humans all belong to this species.
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