Who Were the First People on Earth?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Mar 28, 2020 10:00:01 PM ET

The first people, or human beings, appeared on Earth some 200,000 years ago on the plains of Sub-Saharan Africa. All modern humans belong to the species known as Homo sapiens that evolved from earlier species of hominids.

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The term "people" can also be extended to all forms of humans, including earlier hominids from which modern humans derive. In this case, the first people are considered to be Homo habilis, who evolved in Africa over 2.4 million years ago. Homo habilis, their immediate successors Homo erectus and modern Homo sapiens, were all originally hunter-gatherers, using simple stone, wood and bone tools to organize themselves in small tribal families.