The word “hominid” is used to refer to members of the family of humans. About six million years ago the hominid lineage split from chimpanzees and although the fossil record is far from complete, there is enough evidence to provide an outline of the evolutionary history of humans.

When considering human evolution, the term “human” includes other hominids such as the Australopithecines from which the genus Homo diverged by about 2.3 million years ago. Several species of Homo are now extinct, as are all the Australopithecines.

The fossil evidence supports a hypothesis that Homo sapiens (our species) arose in Africa and migrated out of the continent around 50,000 to 100,000 years ago, replacing populations of other hominids such as Homo erectus and Neanderthals as they did so. By 25,000 years ago, all but Homo sapiens were extinct.

Credits: Geo-Ed (a company specializing in fossil replicas).

Australopithecus afarensis (Lucy)

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Australopithecus aethiopicus

Australopithecus anamensis

Australopithecus boisei

Australopithecus africanus

Australopithecus robustus

Hominid Evolutionary Tree

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Homo sapiens


Early Hominids

Hominid migration routes


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