World History/Big Geography

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Early Humans[edit]

This section will contain a brief history of early humans. This will not be elaborated on for two reasons- the first being much of this era is pre-speech so everything that we know is learned from archeological remains. The second being that this topic doesn't have a large role in the AP World History Exam.

All early ancestors of humans originated from Africa. Some species like the Australopithecus Afarensis went extinct there too. The migration of early humans towards other continents started with Homo Erectus about 2 million years ago. Homo Sapien, the modern human, migrated out about 100,000 years ago, spread across Asia about 60,000 years ago, with Australia and the Philippines following and last the Americas using the theorized Bering Strait land bridge.

Australopithecus Afarensis[edit]

Australopithecus afarensis is one of the most widely known early human species. Au. afarensis lived from about 4 million years ago and went extinct about 2 million years ago. Lucy, an Au. afarensis fossil, is one of the most famous early human skeletons. Discovered in 1971 in Ethiopia, Africa, it consists of several hundred fragments of bones that make up 40% of a female Au. afarensis body.

Homo Habilis[edit]

Homo Habilis, meaning handy man, marked the start of the Paleolithic Era and lived from about 2 million years to 1.5 million years ago. Homo Habilis is least like the modern Homo Sapien of the Homo genus. The first Homo Habilis fossils were found in East Africa. This species was one of the earliest users of stone tools which consisted of very simple tools such as a sharpened stone.

Homo Erectus[edit]

About 1.9 million years ago Homo Erectus, meaning upright human, emerged in Africa as a new species of early human. Homo Erectus better hunting skills and ability to create fire allowed them to migrate to colder regions such as Europe or Asia. Homo Erectus were contemporaries with Homo Habilis for several hundred years until their superior skills allowed them to replace Homo Habilis.


Homo Neanderthalensis was an early human species that lived in Eurasia from about 200,000 to 30,000 years ago. Homo Neanderthalensis is similar to modern humans anatomy-wise. Although sometimes depicted as crude, archeologists have found that they used tools, controlled fire and even buried their dead. This would suggest the ability of complicated thinking and some idea of the afterlife.

Modern Humans[edit]

Homo Sapiens[edit]

Homo Sapien is the modern human. Some of the oldest fossils found date back to 160,000 years ago which proves that they did not come after the Neanderthals but were their contemporaries.