History of Early Hominids

Major Hominid Species

Ardipithecus ramidus

4400000 BC - 4200000 BC

Ancestor of A. afarensis more closely related to chimps, very few fossils found, indicate diet of soft foods.

Australopithecus afarensis

3800000 bc - 2700000 bc

Lived in northern rift valley, east Africa. About the size of a chimp, walked upright, lived in wooded environment.

A. africanus

3000000 BC - 2400000 BC

Discovered in eastern Africa. Had larger brain than A. afarensis, more human-like bone structure. Similar fossils found in many African locations.

A. boisei

2600000 BC - 1200000 BC

Found in Tanzania, Less that 4 feet tall, Had massive grinding teeth.

A. robustus

2500000 BC - 1000000 BC

Found in central Africa, large difference in size between males and females.

Homo habilis

2000000 BC - 1600000 BC

First hominid thought to use tools. Males more that 5 feet, females much smaller. Descendant of australopithecines, predecessor of Homo erectus

Homo erectus

2000000 BC - 500000 BC

Direct ancestor of modern humans, fossils found on three continents.

H. sapiens neanderthalensis

300000 BC - 28000 BC

Ice-age human like cousins of our own species. Most found in Europe.

Homo sapiens

200000 BC - 2013 AD

The oldest human fossil found is about 130,000 years old, some found with crafted tools. Cave paintings evidence of intelligence and hunting methods.

Individual Discoveries


3200000 BC

Exeptionally complete Australopithecus afarensis discovered in Ethiopia in 1974, a major step towards classifying early hominids.

Taung Child

2500000 BC

Young Australopithecus africanus discovered in Taung, South Africa. First discoverd of the A. africanus species.

Cro-Magnon Man

30000 BC

Early Homo sapien found in France, extremely similar to modern man.

Clovis People

9000 BC

Prehistoric Native American Culture that populated the Americas by taking an ice bridge from Asia, discovered in Mexico



5300000 BC - 2600000 BC

Lower Paleolithic

2600000 BC - 300000 BC

Middle Paleolithic

300000 BC - 30000 BC

Upper Paleolithic

50000 BC - 10000 BC