The first primates evolved about 55 million years ago, and about 6 to 8 million years ago, human ancestral primates diverged from chimpanzees. The oldest human ancestor to walk on two legs lived about 5.8 million years ago, and Lucy, a famous ancestor of modern humans, lived about 3.2 million years ago. Archaeologists found her remains near Hadar, Ethiopia.Continue Reading
About 2.7 million years ago, Paranthropus lived in woods and grasslands, and the species became extinct around 1.2 million years ago. Homo habilis appeared about 2.5 million years ago with a brain volume of about 600 cubic centimeters. Their faces protruded less than earlier hominids, and they used stone tools.
Homo ergaster, with brain volumes of nearly 850 cubic centimeters, lived about 2 million years ago. Homo erectus, the first hunter-gatherers, lived in what is now Asia about 1.8 to 1.5 million years ago. They had a brain volume of about 1,000 cubic centimeters, and they were the first hominids to migrate out of Africa.
About 230,000 years ago, the first Neanderthals appeared. Archaeologists have found their remains throughout Europe and parts of the Middle East. They became extinct about 28,000 years ago due to the presence of modern man. The present-day human species, Homo sapiens, emerged about 195,000 years ago with an average brain volume of about 1,350 cubic centimeters. Shortly after Homo sapiens appeared, they migrated across what is now Asia and Europe.Learn more about Prehistory