Humans’ most recent ancestor, the species that predated our sort, remains shrouded in thriller. Anthropologists even now don’t know what species human beings developed from.
If we go a minor bit further back again in time, paradoxically, our ancestry is a lot more apparent. Human beings can count Homo erectus, a species of hominin that lived from about two million to just a couple of hundred thousand several years back, as our ancestor. H. erectus was an terribly productive species, searching a lot more like fashionable human beings in a lot of means than its forebears and migrating out of Africa into Eurasia.
But what bridged H. erectus and our possess species is unclear. Just one candidate, H. antecessor, was not too long ago disqualified based on a research that utilised proteins from historic tooth enamel to reconstruct the species’ heritage. H. antecessor, which lived from just over a million to about 800,000 several years back in Africa and Europe, was really a sister lineage to our possess, closely similar but not our ancestor.
That leaves one more species, H. heidelbergensis, the most probable candidate for our immediate ancestor. The hominins lived from about 400,000 to 600,000 several years back and shared a lot of distinctive traits with human beings. But definitive evidence for their spot in the human family tree is even now lacking, owing in massive part to a dearth of fossils and genetic evidence.
This story is part of an ongoing series exploring issues about human origins. Read a lot more about historic human beings: