1 – 2 million years ago


Homo habilis
Homo erectus

The first species that can be called human, Homo habilis, evolved in Africa. They were only about 1.2 or 1.5 m tall, but had a larger brain than Australopithecus, and the part of the brain that is used for speech was just beginning to develop. They made tools, built simple shelters to live in and gathered and hunted for food.

Homo habilis first evolved about seven days ago in Earth's life (that is really about two million years ago) and became extinct about five days ago.

Just before Homo habilis went into extinction, about six days ago on our timeline (about two million years ago in real time), a slightly taller species, Homo erectus, evolved in Africa. Four days ago (about one million years ago in real time) this species began to spread quickly throughout Africa, Europe and Asia.

Homo erectus was up to 1.7 m tall and had a large brain. It had an elongated, thick skull and a large brow-ridgeover the eyes. This species was the first to make stone tools, such as hand axes, and was the first to use fire.

Homo erectus almost went into extinction about one and a half days ago on our timeline (about 400 000 years ago in real time). But recently fossils of a small community have been found, proving Homo erectus was still living in Java only four and a half hours ago on our timeline (50 000 years ago in real time)!

The first people1 – 2 million years ago

The first people.

NeanderthalsThe Neanderthals

About 22 hours ago in our timeline (about 200 000 years ago in real time), the first Neanderthal emerged.


Australopithecus was a hominid (a group of primates) but not a human being.

The Earth is now 46 years oldBack to 100-0 million years ago

The Earth is now 46 years old.