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Around 6 million years ago, a branch of apes evolved to become the first species of the genus Homo. These early humans ditched the long arms of apes for stronger legs. While they could no longer swing around on trees, they could stand upright, walk, and colonize new ecosystems, away from the forest.
The brains of early humans grew until we were using complex tools to hunt large animals, build fires, and construct shelters.
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In 2019, researchers visited a small cave on an island in northern Indonesia. Inspired by the discovery of H. floresiensis, the scientists wondered whether other islands also had human dwellers. The researchers struck gold — kind of. Though they found human remains, the...
Neanderthals were shorter and stockier than us but had brains that were as big, or even bigger, than our own. Neanderthals lived a tough life. We find bones riddled with fractures, suggesting they did not always succeed when they hunted large animals. They also lived in seriously cold environment...
Homo floresiensis is known only from remains found in 2003 on the Island of Flores, Indonesia. Along with the remains of H. floresiensis were some stone tools, dwarf elephants and komodo dragons — a discovery that paints quite a scene of the island life of these small humans.
The isolation ...
Not all these extinct humans coexisted with our H. sapiens ancestors. Most of them probably went extinct due to intense changes in climate.
After humans moved into Europe, Neanderthal numbers began to dwindle. We competed for space and food, and we outmatched our closest relatives. The fac...
H. erectus is the first human with a significantly larger braincase than that of apes. They also had smaller teeth. The latter adaptation probably helped H. erectus eat meat and quickly digestible protein. This would fuel the increased nutritional requirements that came...
Homo naledi were small hominids that lived in South Africa. We do not know much about H. naledi, because they were only discovered in late 2015. In a single expedition, scientists excavated an astounding 1,550 specimens from at least 15 individuals. These speci...
We know little about Homo rudolfensis, a hominid discovered near Kenya’s Lake Rudolf (now known as Lake Turkana). H. rudolfensis had a considerably greater braincase than Homo habilis — a good indicator that the species was human. However, some scientists argue...
H. Habilis was small, clocking in around 70 pounds and standing somewhere between 3.5 feet and 4.5 feet tall. We also know that H. habilis made complex tools, including stones used to butcher animals. H. Habilis lived as the only member of our genus for nearly ...
Around 700,000 years ago, Homo heidelbergensis (sometimes referred to as Homo rhodesiensis) arrived on the scene in Europe and eastern Africa. Scientists think that these smaller, wider humans were the first to live in cold places.
The remains of animals like horses, elephants, hippopotamus...
Most experts agree that our species, Homo sapiens (Latin for “wise men”), is the ninth and youngest human species. The lives of the other eight species tell a story of how humans slowly evolved away from the other apes, developing the ability to walk, eat meat, hunt, build shelters, and perform s...
By the time Homo sapiens arrived on the scene some 300,000 years ago, we were the ninth Homo species, joining habilis, erectus, rudolfensis, heidelbergensis, floresiensis, neanderthalensis, naledi, and luzonensis. Many of these species lived for much longer per...
Find out about the humans before us.
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