What Period of Geologic Time Did Humans Appear?

In the long geological history of the Earth, humans first appeared during the Pleistocene Epoch, which dates back 1.6 million years to 10,000 years ago. Humans in modern form arrived during the Pleistocene Epoch, although human-like creatures appeared in the period just before the Pleistocene, called the Pilocene Epoch, which dates back 5 million years ago to 1.6 million years ago.

The Pleistocene Epoch gave rise to many types of plants and animals on Earth in addition to humans. Species emerging during that time include the woolly mammoth, conifers, mosses and many types of insects. Remains of the woolly mammoth trace its origins back to the cold northern regions of Russia. The mammoth survived the Pleistocene Epoch, but ultimately faced extinction. Many plants and trees emerging during that time showed resilience, however.

The Pleistocene Epoch ushered in life forms including large mammals and birds. Saber-toothed tigers, ground sloths, bison, horses and camels arose during this time. Many birds, including raptors and teratorn birds, which boasted wingspans exceeding 25 feet also can be traced to this period.

Many species of plants and animals enjoyed growth during the Pleistocene Epoch. This includes humans, whose populations spanned much of the world by the end of that epoch.