About 120 000 or 130 000 years ago

Our species

The first people

It is now Earth's 46th birthday, but we have still not seen any sign of modern people like you and me.

It is not clear when our species, Homo sapiens sapiens, first evolved, but it may have been in Africa about 120 000 or 130 000 years ago. Modern humans arrived in Europe between 32 000 and 36 000 years ago (about three and a half hours ago in Earth's life). That is a very short time ago so far as Earth is concerned!

The earliest type of Homo sapiens sapiens has been called Cro-Magnons. When and how we evolved from the Cro-Magnons is a puzzle as there are very few fossils of the earliest members of our species.


The Cro-Magnon type of prehistoric human appears to have been heavily built and fairly tall compared with the Neanderthals.

100 000 years ago to now100 000 years ago to now

After the first modern humans (Cro-Magnons) emerged in Africa about 100 000 – 120 000 years ago, they migrated northward, spreading rapidly over Europe and Asia.

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

The Earth is now 46 years old.