At one time or another, you've probably said, “It's a small world.” Well, it used to be much, much smaller. Because according to scientists from the University of Utah, about a million years ago our ancestors numbered fewer than 20,000.
The earliest species of the Homo genus appeared around 2 million to 1.5 million B.C.E. Current evidence supports modern Homo sapiens appearing around 190,000 B.C.E. Modern Homo sapiens originated in Africa, though the exact location has long been debated.
Early humans first migrated out of Africa into Asia probably between 2 million and 1.8 million years ago. They entered Europe somewhat later, between 1.5 million and 1 million years. Species of modern humans populated many parts of the world much later.
Finally, during the Neolithic period (roughly 8,000 B.C. to 3,000 B.C.), ancient humans switched from hunter/gatherer mode to agriculture and food production. They domesticated animals and cultivated cereal grains. They used polished hand axes, adzes for plowing and tilling the land and started to settle in the plains.
Homo habilis, which lived roughly 2.4 million to 1.4 million years ago, had some of the primitive traits of the earliest hominins — a pronounced brow ridge, large teeth.
The first human ancestors appeared between five million and seven million years ago, probably when some apelike creatures in Africa began to walk habitually on two legs. They were flaking crude stone tools by 2.5 million years ago. Then some of them spread from Africa into Asia and Europe after two million years ago.
5,300 years ago (3300 BC): Bronze Age begins in the Near East Newgrange is built in Ireland.
Around 10,000–7000 years ago (8000–5000 BC), humankind experienced perhaps its most important revolution. The Neolithic revolution, as it is called, forever changed the interaction between humans and the world around us by introducing the basic ingredient that makes civilization possible: agriculture.
Compared with earlier fossil humans, note the expanded braincase relative to the size of the face. The most complete fossil individual of this species is known as the 'Turkana Boy' – a well-preserved skeleton (though minus almost all the hand and foot bones), dated around 1.6 million years old.
Some computer models suggest life began as early as 4.5 billion years ago. 3.465-billion-year-old Australian Apex chert rocks may once have contained microorganisms, the earliest fossil evidence of life on Earth. Microbial mat fossils have been found in 3.48 billion-year-old sandstone in Western Australia.
7000 BC is 9,012 years ago in 2012 or 9,013 years ago in 2013. 3.
10,500 years ago (8,500 BC): Earliest supposed date for the domestication of cattle. 10,000 years ago (8,000 BC): The Quaternary extinction event, which has been ongoing since the mid-Pleistocene, concludes.
Life was very different for human societies 20,000 years ago. Humans hunted animals for food and had just started living in settlements. Unfortunately, very little evidence from this period exists.
The Prehistoric Ages: How Humans Lived Before Written Records. For roughly 2.5 million years, humans lived on Earth without leaving a written record of their lives—but they left behind other kinds of remains and artifacts.
The Stone Age
During this era, early humans shared the planet with a number of now-extinct hominin relatives, including Neanderthals and Denisovans. In the Paleolithic period (roughly 2.5 million years ago to 10,000 B.C.), early humans lived in caves or simple huts or tepees and were hunters and gatherers.
In the Middle Palaeolithic era, 250,000 to 50,000 years ago, two humanoid species lived in the Old World at the same time: Neanderthal man and modern man (Homo sapiens). The Neanderthals lived in Europe and Central Asia whereas modern man lived in Africa at that time.
The term Middle Stone Age is used as an equivalent or a synonym for the Middle Paleolithic in African archeology. The Middle Paleolithic broadly spanned from 300,000 to 30,000 years ago.
Researchers have announced the naming of a newly discovered species of human ancestor, Homo bodoensis. The species lived in Africa about 500,000 years ago, during the Middle Pleistocene age, and was the direct ancestor of modern humans, according to scientists.
It is named the Stone Age because during that time our distant ancestors made their tools from stones. Humans like us — the species Homo sapiens — appeared long after the start of the Stone Age, only about 200,000 years ago.