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130Mil BC
Lines leading to mice and men separated about this time.
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21Mil BC
A fossil of a creature called Morotopithecus bishopi, a tree-dwelling, ape-like creature that lived in what is now Uganda, was found in the 1960s and indicated that its transverse process had moved backward, behind the opening for the spinal cord. In 2007 Dr. Aaron Filler authored "The Upright Ape: a new origin of the Species," in which he argued that this common ancestor, and ancestors going back many millions of years before, walked upright. Homo sapiens, the human species, continued upright, while apes evolved back toward all fours.
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20Mil BC
The gorilla lineage evolved from a common ancestor of orangutans about this time.
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12Mil BC
Gorilla and chimpanzees split from a common ancestor about this time.
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10Mil BC
In 2007 Ethiopian fossil hunter found molars of a large ape that bespoke gorilla origins from about this time. They named the large ape Chororapithecus abyssinicus.
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10Mil BC
The Ankarapithecus skull, dating to about this time, was found in the Turkish desert in 1996. The remains show many similarities to Sivapithecus from South Asia, and have sometimes been included in that genus.
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9.8Mil BC
In 2007 Researchers in Kenya unveiled a 10-million-year-old jaw bone they believe belonged to a new species of great ape that could be the last common ancestor of gorillas, chimpanzees and humans. A Kenyan and Japanese team found the fragment, dating back to between 9.8 and 9.88 million years, in 2005 along with 11 teeth. The fossils were unearthed in volcanic mud flow deposits in the northern Nakali region of Kenya.
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9Mil BC
The first creatures in the human lineage lived about this time.
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6Mil BC
– 4 Mil BC Fossil evidence later indicated that humanities upright stance began to evolve during this period.
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4.4Mil BC
A partial skeleton in some 125 pieces was found by a group led by Tim White, Gen Suwa and Berhane Asfaw in the Middle Awash at Aramis, Ethiopia, in late 1994. They named it Ardipithecus ramidus, which put it in a new genus and means ground ape root. A new argon-argon dating technique was used. In 2009 scientists reported that the hominid Ardipithecus ramidus, dubbed "Ardi," represents the earliest skeleton of a human ancestor. The 110-pound, 4-foot female roamed forests a million years before the famous Lucy. In 2010 other specialists challenged White’s analysis.
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3.4Mil BC
The fossil of a pre-human footprint dating to this time was later found in Ethiopia and attributed by scientists in 2012 to a hominin line that never adapted to terrestrial mobility upright.
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3.3Mil BC
In 2015 scientists reported the discovery of stone tools in Kenya that dated back to about this time, pushing back the previous record by some 700,000 years. Makers of the tools were contemporary with a species called either Kenyanthropus platyops or Australopithecus platyops.
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3.2Mil BC
Donald C. Johanson found Lucy's 3.2 million-year-old bones in Ethiopia in 1974. Dr. Johanson and an international team at Hadar, Ethiopia, discovered a female skeleton in 3 million year old strata and named it Lucy. Subsequent finds there and at Laetoli, Tanzania, led to the naming of a new species: Australopithecus afarensis.
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3Mil BC
2Mil BC
Australopithecus africanus was the name given to the skull of an adult male found by R. Broom and T.J. Robinson in 1947 at Sterkfontein, South Africa. It was named by Prof. Raymond Dart in 1924 after his analysis of the Taung child skull from a cave South Africa. Average age of sample teeth is 22 years at death, as analyzed by Alan Mann. In 2006 new analysis of the Taung skull suggested that the child was killed by a predatory bird.
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3Mil BC
2.5Mil BC
Teeth of Australopithecus africanus analyzed from this period indicate consumption of large quantities of carbon 13 from either grasses and sedges of animals that ate such plants or both. This was a transition period of movement from trees and forests to more open land.
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2.8Mil BC
Scientists in 2015 reported that a jawbone found in northeast Ethiopia dated to about this time making it the oldest to date for the Homo branch of humans.
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2.8Mil BC
2.5Mil BC
South African scientists in 2015 said they've discovered a new member of the human family tree based on fossils found in 2013 in the Dinaledi Chamber of the Rising Star cave system near the town of Magaliesburg. Researchers named the creature Homo naledi (nah-LEH-dee) and estimated the species to be from about this period.
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1.977Mil BC
In 2008 scientists in South Africa found 2 skeletons of a new hominid species dating back to about this time. In 2010 studies were published indicating that the adult female and juvenile male fossils, dubbed Australopithecus sediba, have shed light on a previously unknown stage in human evolution. In 2011 Lee Berger of the Univ. of Witwatersrand. Berger said the find represented the most plausible known ancestor of archaic and modern humans.
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1.95Mil BC
1.78Mil BC
Fossils of a partial skull and two jawbones found in South Africa’s Turkana Basin in 2007 dated to this period and indicated that at least 3 species of early humans co-existed.
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1.8Mil BC
1.8Mil BC Hominid fossils and crude stone tools of this time were found in the former Soviet republic of Georgia in 1991 beneath the ruins of a medieval castle at Dmanisi. A 3rd smaller skull was found in 2002. All 3 were tentatively classified as Homo erectus. One skull of a man indicated that he had been almost toothless for at least 2 years before death. In 2013 a study of the findings was published in Science.
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1.6Mil BC
Homo erectus dates from at least this far back and had a brain capacity of some 1,000 ml, compared with our own 1,400. He was the first to control fire and to move out of Africa into Europe and Asia. A Palaeolithic technology called Acheulian was invented in Africa by Homo erectus about this time.
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1.2Mil BC
In 2007 Spanish researchers said they had unearthed a human tooth more than one million years old, which they estimated to be the oldest human fossil remain ever discovered in western Europe.
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1.1Mil BC
In 2008 scientists reported fossils, found in a cave in northern Spain, of Homo antecessor, that dated to before this time.
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900000 BC
In 2009 scientists reported finding advanced hand axes made about this time in southeastern Spain. Similar Acheulean type limestone tools, flaked on both edges, were at another site nearby dated to 760,000 BC.
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800000 BC
Soleilhac, in the Massif Central of France, is the oldest unquestionable site of hominid occupation in Europe. It offers faunal remains and tools, but no hominid bones.
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800000 BC
In 1996 a team of fossil hunters reported 800,000 year-old hominids from the Gran Dolino site in the Atapuerca Mountains in northern Spain. The date was older by 300,000 years than any other human remains in Europe. They called the new species Homo antecessor. Among modern characteristics were a prominent brow line and multiple roots for premolar teeth, characteristics of early hominids.
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800000 BC
Some Indonesian and Dutch archeologist have presented evidence that early hominids in Asia made it to the island of Flores in the Javan archipelago.
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800000 BC
Ancestors of the Neanderthals and Denisovans left Africa as far back as this time period and replaced or interbred with descendants of Homo erectus.
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760000 BC
In 2009 scientists reported finding advanced hand axes made about this time in southeastern Spain. Similar Acheulean type limestone tools, flaked on both edges, were at another site nearby dated to 900,000 BC.
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700000 BC
In 2005 scientists said that 32 black flint artifacts, found in river sediments in Pakefield in eastern England, date back 700,000 years and represent the earliest unequivocal evidence of human presence north of the Alps.
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700000 BC
In 2016 scientists working in Indonesia reported fossil bones of Homo floriensis dating back to about this time. Remains found earlier dated back to 60k-100k years.
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670000 BC
400000 BC
Homo erectus occupied the Longushan cave. The Dragon Bone Hill site is 30 miles southwest of Beijing. The bones were found in the 1920s-1930s and were popularly referred to as Peking Man.
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560000 BC
In 2015 French students found a human tooth from about this time in a cave at Tautavel in southwestern France, the oldest human body part ever discovered in the country.
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500000 BC
200000 BC
In Ethiopia a hominid skull from this period was discovered in 2006 at the Gawis river drainage basin in the Afar region.
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400000 BC
48000 BC
400k BC - 48k BC A human group, later called the Denisovans, lived in Asia during this period. They then interbred with humans expanding from Africa along the coast of South Asia. In 2010 fossil evidence from a Siberian cave in 2008 revealed that their DNA was related to the DNA of people from New Guinea, which contained 4.8% Denisovan DNA. 3-5% of the DNA from native people of Papua New Guinea, Australia, the Philippines and other nearby islands came from Denisovans, who left Africa as far back as 800,000 BC. In 2014 scientists reported that a genetic between extinct Denisovans and some modern-day Tibetans and Sherpas.
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400000 BC
In 2010 a Tel Aviv University team excavating a cave in central Israel said teeth found in the cave are about 400,000 years old and resemble those of other remains of modern man, known scientifically as Homo sapiens, found in Israel. The earliest Homo sapiens remains found until now are half as old. The prehistoric Qesem cave was discovered in 2000, and excavations began in 2004.
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400000 BC
Scientists in 2013 reported mitochondrial DNA results from a Human thighbone found in Spain estimated to be 400,000 years old. The DNA showed a closer relation to Denisovans who lived in Siberia than to Neanderthals.
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200000 BC
It is speculated that the Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens split from a common ancestor about this time. DNA research in 2008 indicated that shortly after this time Homo Sapiens split into 2 groups. Most people in 2008 represented one group, while the bushmen of southern Africa represented the other.
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200000 BC
In 2010 Israeli archeologists found shards of flint found scattered around a fire pit in a cave near Tel Aviv dating to this time. They said the shards might be the world's oldest known disposable knives.
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176500 BC
In France Neanderthals created two stone rings in a cave in Bruniquel. The oval structures, measuring 172 and 25 square feet, and were discovered in 1990 and dated to about this time in 2016.
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165000 BC
In 2009 scientific analysis of stone age tools from South Africa suggested that humans about this time began using fire to make it easier to flake stone tools and to make them sharper. The process was believed to have become widespread by about 70000BC.
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120000 BC
80000 BC
Researchers in 2015 reported that 47 fossilized human teeth found in China’s Hunan province dated back to this period. Earlier fossils from southern Asia were only about 45,000 years old.
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100000 BC
In 2008 scientists unearthed human-made paint “toolkits” from the Blombos Cave in South Africa dating to about this time.
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77000 BC
In 2011 scientists in South Africa said layers of cave floor at a natural rock shelter called Sibudu dated to this time with evidence of plant-based bedding used by humans.
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70000 BC
Genetic studies in 2008 estimated that the human population at this time may have shrunk to as low as 2000 due to a long period of severe droughts in Eastern Africa.
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53000 BC
In 2008 a human cranium dating to about this time was found in the Manot Cave in Israel. Anthropologists later said the cranium was a missing connection between African and European populations.
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50000 BC
20000 BC
Researches in 2012 reported that DNA evidence has indicated the presence of foreign DNA indicating interbreeding during this period between humans and an unknown sister species called “a Neanderthal sibling species in Africa.” Humans apparently shared the planet with this cousin species for over150,000 years.
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48000 BC
30000 BC
In 2010 scientists reported that genetic material, pulled from a pinky finger bone found in a Siberian cave dating to this period, showed a new and unknown type of pre-human living about this time alongside modern humans and Neanderthals.
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43000 BC
41000 BC
Home sapiens populations were living in Italy by this time.
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42200 BC
39500 BC
Home sapiens populations were living in England by this time.
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42000 BC
Poison-tipped arrows and ostrich egg beads were made by hunter-gatherers in South Africa. In 2012 the artifacts were said to be characteristic of the San hunter-gatherers.
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40000 BC
Home sapiens in Germany were making flutes about this time.
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38800 BC
Wall decorations in the El Castillo cave in northwestern Spain dated to at least this time.
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35000 BC
In 2008 archeologists unearthed tools dating back at least 35,000 years in a rock shelter in Australia's remote northwest, making it one of the oldest archaeological finds in that part of the country.
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35000 BC
A piece of a stone axe dating to this time was discovered in 2010 on sacred Aboriginal land in Australia, the oldest object of its type ever found. Archeologists said the discovery is evidence that Aboriginal Jawoyn people from Arnhem Land could have been the first to grind axes to sharpen their edges.
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33000 BC
In 2004 archaeologists of the University of Tuebingen said a 35,000BC-year-old flute made from a woolly mammoth's ivory tusk had been unearthed in a German cave and pieced together from 31 fragments. In 2009 a flute from about this same time, made from vulture bone, was displayed. Its 12 pieces had been found in the Hohle Fels cave in southern Germany.
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26000 BC
16000 BC
Africa’s oldest known rock art dated to about this time at a site in Namibia.
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25000 BC
In 2006 France took over ownership of a cave in the Vilhonneur forest where a human skeleton that dated to this time was found in a decorated room.
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22000 BC
In 2017 it was reported that archeological studies at the Bluefish Caves in Canada’s Yukon territory showed evidence that animal bones dating to about this time had been stripped of their flesh by stone tools.
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16000 BC
In Sep, 2003, a 3-foot-tall adult female skeleton was found in a cave believed to be 18,000 years old. A trove of fragmented bones accounted for as many as seven primitive individuals that lived on the equatorial island of Flores, located east of Java and northwest of Australia. Scientists have named the extinct species Homo floresiensis. Scientists in 2005 said the group emerged some 95,000 years earlier and went extinct about 12,000 years ago. In 2009 new studies suggested the people, dubbed hobbits, were a previously unknown species altogether.
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