Australopithecus l Homo habilis l Homo erectus l Neanderthal l Cro-Magnon

Radiometric dating shows us that hominids first appeared on our planet about 3.5 million years ago. Many anthropologists believe that modern humans evolved from earlier, ape-like, primates. This gallery will showcase some of the fossil remains of these early hominids.

Many remains of various early humans have been found in Africa, near Olduvai Gorge, the Hadar Desert in Ethiopia, and throughout the Great Rift Valley.

Click to enlarge images.



Australopithecus was a hominid that lived in Africa close to 3.2 million years ago. The ape-like Australopithecus is believed to have been able to walk upright.


Taung Child, South Africa


Australopithecus skeleton nicknamed "Lucy"


Australopithecus skull

Homo habilis

Homo habilis was next on the scene, arriving nearly 2 million years ago. Homo Habilis was a tool maker who used simple, chipped, stone tools to break open marrow bones, and dig for roots.




Homo erectus

Homo erectus appeared in Africa around 1.5 million years ago. Homo erectus, a hunter, was taller, stronger, and faster than earlier hominids. Homo erectus was the first hominid to discover fire, enabling him to leave Africa, migrating to cooler climate zones.



Click here to manipulate 3D primate skulls

Homo sapiens Neanderthal

Remains of Homo sapiens Neanderthal have been found in both Europe and Asia. Neanderthal made more sophisticated tools and weapons. Ritual burial of the dead was not uncommon among these early Humans.




Homo sapiens Cro-Magnon

Homo sapiens Cro-Magnon are often considered to be the first modern human beings. They were a creative people who developed different forms of artwork.



Cave paintings from Lascaux, France.




The Vogelherd Horse - A Magic Image for Luck in the Horse Hunt The ivory of a mammoth's tusk provided the material for the prehistoric artist who carved this horse some 30,000 years ago. The carving is 2 * inches long and is called the Vogelherd Horse after the cave in Germany in which it was discovered. Archaeologists believe the carved animal images were carried by the hunter for good luck. This horse has been worn smooth by the handling of its Cro-Magnon owner, who hoped to down some horses for his family's food.


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Jay D'Ambrosio 1998