Earth

How Long Have Humans Been On Earth?

Even with this evolutionary history spanning millions of years, records of our civilizations only start dating back approximately 6000 years ago.
How Long Have Humans Been On Earth?

The history of earth and life as we know it is a complex account of the process of evolution, the development of civilizations and the start of the industrial revolution.  With modern civilizations only emerging 200+ years ago, our history and accomplishments only represent a glimmer of time compared to the length of time humans have been roaming the earth.

Tracing our evolutionary history is an important process to truly understand who we are and how we came to be.  One of the first identified links to our humanity is the primate group termed Ardipithecus, who roamed the earth over 6 million years ago.  The evolution of Ardipithecus Ramidus shows us that this is the first group to begin walking upright – an important evolutionary step to allow the hands to craft survival needs such as primitive tools; a link to the development of independent thought and survival.  “Over 100 specimens of Ardipithecus ramidus have been recovered in Ethiopia.  Even though it has some ape-like features (as do many other early human species), it also has key human features including smaller diamond-shaped canines and some evidence of upright walking.” 

humans on earth
An illustrated look at human evolution.

Evolution from this point took millions of years, with the Homo Group – which includes our own species – emerging 2 million years ago.  During this time, there was significant climate change and yet despite the challenges of survival, our own specific species show records of developing from this general group approximately 200,000 years ago. Homo sapiens, our specific group of species were remarkable in the fact that they developed specific tool making capabilities and started the great migration, leading away from the homelands of Africa and ultimately resulting in the nationalities we know today.

Even with this evolutionary history spanning millions of years, records of our civilizations only start dating back approximately 6000 years ago, and the industrial revolution, which has shaped the world we live in today started in the 1800s.  Since this time, we have spanned our reach beyond all earth bound boarders and have now started venturing outwards – into space.  Where will our space exploration take us?  Only time will tell.

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Lauren studies astronomy and physics at NYU.