BOOK ONE, CHAPTER FOUR
Image, CC BY 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Human evolution is the evolutionary process within the history of primates that led to the emergence of Homo sapiens as a distinct hominid family species, including all the great apes. This process involved the gradual development of human bipedalism, dexterity and complex language, and interbreeding with other hominins (a tribe of the African hominid subfamily), indicating that human evolution was not linear but weblike. The study of human evolution involves several scientific disciplines, including physical and evolutionary anthropology, palaeontology, and genetics.
ErnestoLazaros, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Primates diverged from other mammals about 85 million years ago, in the Late Cretaceous period, with their earliest fossils appearing over 55 million years ago during the Paleocene. Primates produced successive clades leading to the ape superfamily, which gave rise to the hominid and the gibbon families; these diverged some 15–20 million years ago. African and Asian hominids (including orangutans) diverged about 14 million years ago Hominins (including the Australopithecine and Panina subtribes) parted from the Gorillini tribe (gorillas) between 8–9 million years ago; Australopithecine (including the extinct biped ancestors of humans) separated from the Pan genus (containing chimpanzees and bonobos) 4–7 million years ago The Homo genus is evidenced by the appearance of H. habilis over 2 million years ago while anatomically modern humans emerged in Africa approximately 300,000 years ago.
Image: Natural History Museum, Vienna ( Austria ). Soft tissue reconstruction of a Paleolithic hunter ( homo sapiens ) with a spear-thrower and spear ( Cro-Magnom 1, Les Eyzies de Tayac, France )Wolfgang Sauber, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
It is believed that Neanderthals and early Homo sapiens coexisted during the ice age, developing unique survival strategies.