The evolution of modern human extends back millions of years, beginning with a genetic split between chimpanzees and humans 5 to 6 million years ago
The emergence of Homo sapiens, modern humans occurred around 200000 years ago, and evidence of the first settled villages dates only as far as about 10000 BC
Among the earliest known human ancestors are the Australopithecines (southern ape men) who evolved in East African forests. The most complete Australopithecine skeleton was discovered in Ethiopia in 1975, is of a young female, named Lucy. She stood around 3 feet tall and weighed around 27 kg.
The earliest “hominins” – human ancestors were evolved more than 2 million years ago. The first to be discovered was Homo habilis (handyman) in Tanzania (Olduvai Gorge). They resembled the Australopithecines but had a larger brain size, and teeth and hands that show a greater evolution to the modern humans.
The other earliest example is Homo erectus (upright man) around 2 million years ago in East Africa. They were early hunters and quick to take advantage of different environments. They used multiple tools which included axes and cleaving tools. By 500000 years ago, these humans moved as far as northeast as China. Fragments of the species were found in Beijing (Zhoukoudian Cave) named as Peking Man.
Around 350,000 years ago a new species Homo Neanderthalensis appeared in Africa. This is the last major human-like species before the evolution of fully modern humans. They spread from Africa to Uzbekistan and Iran and then to Iberian Peninsula to northern Europe. They had large brains and more rounded heads.
Homo sapiens, Modern Humans appeared almost 200,000 years ago in East Africa. They were taller and heavier and face less protruding than Neanderthals. The larynx was lower, so they could vocalize a range of sounds to form languages. The earliest known site of Homo sapiens were at Omo in Ethiopia, dated 195,000 years ago.