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Our home, Third Rock From The Sun, better known as Earth has been around approximately 4.6 billion years! Over those billions of years, there have been millions of different species that have come and gone, including the Dinosaurs! Other species include some of our early species and direct ancestors including Homo ergaster, referred to as the Working Man, and Homo habilis, known as Handyman and lastly, the elderly wise man. The earliest species of today’s modern human appeared somewhere between 400,000 and 250,000 years ago. Homo sapiens really did not have much competition except for the Neanderthals and Denisovans hominis which probably was one of the biggest reasons we managed to continue evolving by developing mental skills instead of brutally bashing each other to death.
The other early human species did not survive over their very treacherous journey, allowing human sapiens evolution to march forward, becoming the last link to these early human species. So, let’s begin:
1. Homo georgicus
Homo georgicus existed between Homo habilis and Homo erectus and discovered between 1999 and 2001 in Dmanisi, Georgia. It’s believed they are over 1.8 million years old. Research showed their skulls were actually quite small after uncovering a number of skulls along with jawbones. They settled in Europe approximately 800,000 years ago.
2. Homo Ergaster “Working Man”
Approximately 1.9 to 1.4 million years BC, Homo ergaster traveled to South/East Africa. Referred to as “the Workingman”, they were very much like Homo erectus with some very different features such as the structure of their skulls and the size of their brains. It’s believed they developed stone axes and probably learned how to use fire long before other human species.
3. Homo rudolfensis
In 2007, a 1.9 million-year-old skull was washed onshore near Lake Rudolf in Kenya. It is the only remains of this species found to date. Scientists believe this species was probably a smart ape vs a human species like homo sapiens.
4. Homo antecessor
It is believed Homo antecessor settled across the European continent from Georgia to Spain between 1.2 million to 700,000 years ago. Some believe they were the first early human species and our European ancestors. Due to their rather large brain, over 1,000 cc, was probably an incredible asset over their existence in Europe.
5. Homo habilis “Handy Man”
Homo habilis, the Handyman, is believed to have lived between 2.5 to 1.8 million years ago, and many researchers believe they could very well be the first human species of the Homo genus to ever show up. It’s also believed they were the first species to use stone tools that were used to cut meat vs for hunting or for self-defense.
6. The Neanderthal “Homo Neanderthalensis“
Neanderthals were found all over Europe and western Asia. They are considered one of the last early human species. They were still here not that terribly long ago around 24,000 and first appeared around 130,000 years ago. Because these direct ancestors were living and coming in contact with us, it is believed that some DNA mixed between the two. Researchers believe they could speak words and form sentences, play flutes made from bear femurs, and were the first to actually bury their dead. It’s also been believed as humans came in contact and watched Neanderthals, it’s a great possibility we started copying them to do things better and more efficiently.
7. Homo Sapiens Idaltu “Elderly Wise Man”
Homo sapiens idaltu known as the Elderly Wise Man, is a more recently extinct human subspecies of homo sapiens (H. sapiens idaltu) who settled in Africa around 160,000 years ago. Research has shown their brain capacity is comparable to today’s humans and probably our direct ancestors.
After these early human species, the first H. sapiens – Khoisan, today’s Bushmen, appeared around 110,000 in Eastern Africa. The rest you might say is history and the modern human species has been around ever since.