A Brief Account of Human Evolution Timeline for Young Minds
You’re probably wondering how it all began, the human evolution timeline, how we intelligently evolved with time and we are now what we are today. It’s a lot of processes and we’ll be discussing all of them in this article.
What is Evolution?
Living species emerge from simpler organisms through the process of evolution. Evolution, according to Charles Darwin (1809–1882), is based on a process known as natural selection.
Natural selection favors organisms that are most suited to the conditions in which they live, resulting in enhanced reproductive capacity.
Darwin proposed creatures evolve because of many minor changes. We will cover evolution in pre-human eras and human prehistory in this post.
Writing had not yet evolved during prehistory. However, studying the fossil record yields a wealth of knowledge about prehistory.
People came from apelike predecessors through a long process of transformation known as human evolution. Between 2 million and 1.8 million years ago, ancient people traveled from Africa to Asia for the first time.
Scientific data suggest that the physical and behavioral characteristics common to all humans evolved over a six-million-year period from apelike ancestors.
Bipedalism, or the capacity to walk on two legs, is one of the earliest defining human characteristics. And have emerged around 4 million years ago.
Another essential human features are the large and complex brain. Also, the ability to create and use tools, and the ability to communicate, has just lately emerged.
Many advanced characteristics, like as rich symbolic expression, art, and elaborate cultural diversity, have only arisen in the last 100,000 years.
Learn More About Neanderthals
Theories of Early Human Evolution
According to the savannah hypothesis, they forced hominins out of their trees and into the growing savannah. They began walking upright on two feet because of this.
The aridity theory elaborated on this idea, claiming that the savannah was expanding because of increasingly arid conditions, resulting in hominin adaption.
As a result, they compelled hominins to evolve and adapt during periods of extreme aridification.
According to the turnover pulse hypothesis, extinctions caused by environmental factors harm specialized species more than generalist species do.
When environmental conditions change, generalist species spread widely, but specialist species become more specialized and evolve at a faster rate.
How Did Humans Evolve?
Primates are mammals, much like humans. The ancient primate lineage split into two major groups around ten to twelve million years ago.
This is because of speciation in the development of new species throughout evolution.
These two lineages diverged and evolved into the many species we see today.
Members of one group were the ancestors of the contemporary great apes (gorillas, chimps, and bonobos in Africa, orangutans in Asia).
They lived in the woods and had an arboreal lifestyle, which means they lived in trees. Great apes are also quadrupeds, meaning they walk on four legs on the ground.
The other group progressed in a different direction. They turned terrestrial, meaning they no longer live in trees and now live on land. They evolved from quadrupeds to bipeds, meaning they walk on their two back legs.
Background and Beginnings in the Miocene
We can find the taproot of the human family tree among apelike species from the Middle Miocene Epoch. This is approximately 16–11.6 mya Or Late Miocene Epoch (11.6–5.3 mya), according to most experts.
Genetic data support A Late Miocene ancestry based on molecular clock calculations.
Various Eurasian and African Miocene primates are proposed as probable ancestors of early hominins who appeared during the Pliocene Epoch (5.3–2.6 million years ago).
Kenyapithecus, Griphopithecus, Dryopithecus, Graecopithecus (Ouranopithecus), Samburupithecus, Sahelanthropus, and Orrorin are among the primates suggested.
Though there is no unanimity among scientists.
Early Human Species and Their Origin
From about 16–14, mya, Kenyapithecus lived in Kenya, and Griphopithecus lived in central Europe and Turkey. Dryopithecus was most famous in western and central Europe, where it lived between 13 and probably 8 million years ago.
Around 9 million years ago, Graecopithecus lived in northern and southern Greece, around the same time as Samburupithecus in northern Kenya.
Between 7 and 6 million years ago, Sahelanthropus lived in Chad. Orrorin lived 6 million years ago in central Kenya. Kenyapithecus or Griphopithecus may be the most plausible ancestor of great apes and humans among these.
Some evolutionary hypotheses claim Graecopithecus to be the lone ancestor of the human lineage. This includes Australopithecus, Paranthropus, and Homo sapiens.
Human Evolution Timeline
Human evolution has taken many forms, but seven distinct periods of humanity stand out. Paleontology is a field filled with new findings.
Thus, the timeline’s specifics may change in the future, while the overall scheme is understood and accepted.
Around 7 million years ago, the apes that would eventually evolve into today’s humans parted from the so-called lesser apes.
These are the great apes or Hominidae. The split of the human lineage from that of chimpanzees, humans’ closest living cousins, is estimated to have occurred about this time.
They have discovered many early hominid fossils in Kenya, showing that this split occurred in Africa. In terms of which creature eventually evolved into modern humans rather than dying out, there are several candidates.
‣ Ardipithecus Ramidus
In 1994, Ethiopians discovered the existence of this species, which appeared to combine walking and swinging in trees.
About 4.5 million years ago, Ardipithecus ramidus appeared. The best estimations of this creature’s size place it at only 4 feet tall and weighing around 110 pounds.
Although this is only for females, as no male remains large enough to determine adult size has yet been discovered.
‣ Homo Heidelbergensis
They discovered the hominid in Germany in 1908. They thought it to be the first human progenitor to have lived in frigid regions, extending over Europe and Asia, and parts of Africa.
Its time span was from 700,000 to 200,000 years ago, and these hominids were roughly the same size as modern humans.
The men can reach an average height of about 5′ 9″ and females reach an average height of about 5′ 2″. They undoubtedly hunted with spears and cooked their kills over the fire.
‣ Homo Neanderthalensis
Several Homo species emerged following H. erectus and quite a few coexisted for some time. The best-known one is Homo neanderthalensis.
It is usually called Neanderthals and is the European branch. They originated from two lineages that diverged around 400,000 years ago. The second branch (lineage) Homo sapiens is the African branch.
The first Neanderthal fossil dates from around 430,000 years ago. They found it in La Sima de Los Huesos in Spain and is considered to originate from the common ancestor called Homo heidelbergensis.
Neanderthals used many of the natural resources in their environment: animals, plants, and minerals.
‣ Homo Sapiens
Fossils unearthed recently in Morocco (North Africa) have added to the raging controversy over how H. sapiens expanded after their origin 315,000 years ago.
The discovery of these fossils could show that Homo sapiens traveled throughout Africa. Similarly, the dispersal of fossils from Africa showed their migration to other continents.
Hypotheses center on either a single dispersal or several dispersals out of the African continent, which is hotly discussed.
H. sapiens was present in Israel 180,000 years ago, even if the genesis of the migration to Europe is still a point of contention.
As a result, it’s possible that migration to Europe came indirectly through a stay in Israel rather than directly from Africa.
The Neolithic Revolution
We also know the Neolithic Period as the New Stone Age. This is owing to the development of new stone technology during the period.
The Neolithic Epoch began 11,700 years ago, with the end of the glacial period. During the Neolithic Period, humans’ lifestyles changed dramatically.
Early humans lived in populous villages, according to ruins discovered in Mesopotamia. Most roaming hunter-gatherers became sedentary farmers after introducing agriculture.
Farmers favored sheepdogs over hunting dogs used by hunter-gatherers. Humans were farming and herding goats and sheep during the Neolithic period.
The Aurochs (extinct wild cattle) seen in the Lascaux cave paintings are early predecessors of today’s domesticated cows.
Effects of the Neolithic Revolution on Society
The traditional notion is that the change in agricultural food production enabled people to grow more densely. Larger sedentary populations, the accumulation of products and tools, and specialization in many sorts of new labor will all benefit from this.
When resources were more plentiful, a population might grow more quickly overall.
Because of the larger societies that resulted, different methods of decision-making and governmental organization emerged.
Food surpluses enabled the rise of a labor-free social elite that ruled over their communities and monopolized decision-making.
Deep social divisions and inequality existed between the sexes, with women’s standing deteriorating as men assumed larger leadership and warrior roles.
Periods In Sumerian History
Farmers who brought irrigation agriculture to southern Mesopotamia during the Ubaid period (6500–4100 BCE) established the first town in southern Mesopotamia.
During this time, there was a lot of distinctive, highly painted pottery.
Several shifts occurred during the Uruk period (4100–2900 BCE). For the first time, pottery was mass-produced. Second, commercial commodities flowed through southern Mesopotamia’s canals.
Large cities with temples are also common. They arose to make this transaction easier. They used slaves as trade laborers.
In contrast to pictograms, writing became commonplace and decipherable during the Early Dynastic period (2900–2334 BCE).
All of our close cousins eventually died out. Leaving Homo sapiens as the only human species, despite the genetic ancestry they supplied to living individuals.
Their disappearance raises yet another intriguing, possibly unanswerable issue about our evolution. The question is why were we the only humans to survive?
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Originally published at https://suntrustblog.com on March 28, 2022.