Lori Cuthbert Editor-in-Chief, Discovery NewsAs of this posting, on May 31, 2011, the earliest evidence of human origins resides in an already discovered fossil of Homo heidelbergensis, or Heidelberg Man.
Heidelberg Man actually predated our species, Homo sapiens, by several hundred thousand years. But researchers now think that Heidelberg Man got around, spreading to Eurasia and Africa, living for over 650,000 years, and eventually giving rise to Homo sapiens AND Neanderthals. To put our existance on Earth in perspective, it's thought that modern humans have been around for 400,000 years.
That means that Heidelberg Man is thought to be the species that connects us with the Neanderthals.
For more on this story, check out this article from Discovery News: http://news.discovery.com/archaeology/humans-neanderthals-heidelberg-man-110504.html.
Scientists have found the earliest fossil evidence of human existence in Africa, which is where the first Homo sapiens appeared about 400,000 years ago. Humans began migrating to the Middle East and eventually Europe and Asia roughly 100,000 years ago. At one point, early humans existed together with Neanderthals, an earlier hominid, but eventually overtook and replaced them as the dominant species.
(Kenneth Garrett/National Geographic/Getty Images)
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