Tracing Fossil Finds : A Hominid Timeline

homind timeline chart
homo afarensis

Homo sapiens (archaic & modern)

Worldwide: 200,000 years ago to present. Our own species. Has a lighter build than earlier Homo forms and may have displaced other Homo species.

homo afarensis
Homo neanderthalensis

Europe, Western Asia: 200,000 to about 30,000 years ago. Stocky; adapted to the cold climate of their time. Our closest extinct relative; possibly a subset of our own species.
homo afarensis
Homo heidelbergensis

Europe: 800,000 to 250,000 years ago. Muscular and tall, with a sloping chin and forehead. May be a direct ancestor of Homo neanderthalensis..
homo afarensis
Homo erectus

Africa, Asia, Europe: 1.4 million to 50,000 years ago. Similar to modern humans, but taller, stronger, and with a pronounced ridge over the brow. Thought to be the first to use rafts to travel the oceans.
homo afarensis
Homo ergaster

Africa: 1.9 to 1.4 million years ago. Considered an early, exclusively African form of Homo erectus. Started making stone tools 1.6 million years ago.
homo afarensis

Homo rudolfensis

East Africa: 2.5 to 1.9 million years ago. Known from a single specimen from Kenya. Bipedal, but apelike, with long arms and hips not adapted to long-distance walking.

homo afarensis
Homo habilis

Africa: 2.3 to 2 million years ago. Known from only a few specimens; the first of the Homo genus known to use stone tools.
homo afarensis
Australopithecus africanus

South Africa: 2.9 to 2 million years ago. Compared to the older A. afarensis, this species has a rounder skull and slightly larger brain.
homo afarensis
Australopithecus garhi

Africa: 2.6 to 2.5 million years ago. The first tool-making hominids known. Probably not a direct ancestor in the human lineage.
homo afarensis
Australopithecus afarensis

Africa: 4 to 2.8 million years ago. More than 300 specimens known. Bipedal with apelike features, including a prognathic (forward-protruding) face.
homo afarensis

Australopithecus anamensis

Africa: 4.1 to 3.9 million years ago. Similar to Australopithecus afarensis; probably the direct ancestor of this group.

homo afarensis
Ardipithecus ramidus

Africa: 5.8 to 4.4 million years ago. The earliest proto-human known. Bipedal; about the size of a modern chimpanzee.

© Exploratorium | The museum of science, art and human perception