Talk:Timeline of human evolution

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A rather remarkable video just posted on BBC today: might this or something like it be useful here? Harel (talk) 17:42, 5 May 2011 (UTC)


  1. 65MYA - Archonta branches, including primates.... 55MYA the first true primates appear. This is a contradiction. Either Archonta branched, creating the primates, or they branched later, when the first true primates appeared.
  2. 64MYA - Lemurs crossed into Madagascar ..... 40 MYA Primates split into Prosimians & Anthropoids. Again, a contradiction. Lemurs are prosimians. The Suborders Prosimiia and Anthropoidea are no longer used by primatologists.

I stopped looking after those two sets of contradictions. Please go to Primate and look at the information there and on other pages in WP:PRIM, as they are all built together. - UtherSRG (talk) 11:23, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

Additionally, the page states both:

  1. 75MYA - Order primates (at the top)
  2. 85–65 Ma - Primates (first numbers in section); and 63 Ma, primates diverge

This is seemingly inconsistent. Thangalin (talk) 18:52, 10 May 2014 (UTC)


I notice Mateuszica commented that technology/cultural were dropped. They now exist at the Timeline of evolution but they make even less sense there. I just posted this there:

  • Moving all key human landmarks from 10kya onward to Timeline of human evolution and leaving (or adding where missing) broad ecosphere, evolutionary changes.
  • Start the Timeline of extinctions and move what I removed (a series of specific extinctions) there. Marskell 13:19, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

Alternatively, we could have a "timeline of human cultural and technological landmarks" or some such thing. Nice job on the pics incidentally--it looks good. Marskell 13:26, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

human evolution[edit]

when i created the article , i think a lot of names for the article, i think in "Timeline of human evolution"too . but i tried to afoid put the "human evolution" on the name of the article , because its deeply associated with just the homo (genus) evolution.

UtherSRG changed the name Timeline of evolution of our species to the actuall name.

of course the actuall name of the article is a good name...not a long name.. and i really agreed to let this one

but if someone has a name that disassociate with human evolution , and that would fit well with this timeline , would be very nice . your ideas are very welcome.

Mateus Zica 14:41, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

But we already have Timeline of Evolution as a seperate article. This needs to be specified to humans or its purpose isn't apparent. In fact, I'd specify it further as suggested above. Marskell 13:11, 30 October 2005 (UTC)
Not to mention that not all of us who are reading this are humans. (talk) 11:45, 23 August 2009 (UTC)

This is deceptive and artificial.[edit]

I believe this species-based approach to evolutionary timelines is highly artificial and fundamentally flawed:-

1) Each component in the biosphere is intimately inter-connected. For eg Human domestication and hunting of animals has affected the evolution of many non-human species. Having a separate timeline for each species is highly impractical, and ignore this inter-connections, interactions and causal relationships. It also lead to replication of materials.

2) Taking humans away from other organism seems to be very human-centric and seems to imply that humans are somehow special and no longer subjected to the laws of evolution any more, and also can live independently of other living things, which is wrong.

I think it is better to seperate the timeline of evolution into various chronological stages like:-

1) Chemical Evolution (4BYA) 2) Beginning of bacteria life (3.8BYA) 3) Multicellularism begins (1.2BYA) 4) After Cambrian explosion (543 BYA) 5) After the extinction of dinosaurs (65 MYA) 6) Era of the apes (25 MYA) 7) Beginning of Hominid evolution (8 MYA) 8) Rise of anatomically modern human (200KYA) 9) Rise of human with high cognitive powers(40KYA) 10) After the agricultural revolution (11KYA) 11) After the invention of writing (5KYA)

How is it "artificial" when multicellular organisms DO separate into non-interbreeding species which undergo descent with modification? That species interact is a given (if we were going to trace someone's ancestry, it would not really be necessary to mention that his grandfather liked to buy bread from someone else's bakery unless its very significant to the story) but add to that our extreme ignorance of what those other species were and what we have is really a sketch of the timeline of the evolution of humans as best as we can determine it. With regard to your timeline suggestion, it seems to me that THAT is a "very human-centric" view of things; is each stage of equal importance? Stage 4 covers the entire history of vertebrates; is that really only as important as stage 6? Stages 10 and 11 don't even involve evolution in the classical sense since they're cultural evolution. -- Limulus 05:25, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
I have solved this dilemma, I think; the complaint is valid in the sense that these evolutionary processes, while involving species as stages, do not involve species as "goals" toward which there is any particular teleology. In other words, this is a succession of species states, not a progression of species states. In my new introduction, readers are implicitly cautioned not to see the "timeline" as a directed phenomenon, but rather an analytical and selective view of something much wider and more chaotic. (BC)
Frustrating. Someone destroyed my introduction without reading this discussion page or commenting on why. (BC)

BC, I liked most of your rewording of the intro. I suggest you get yourself a user name and put it back in. Some users (I think) tend to revert the edits of anonymous IP addresses on principle, if their merits were not immediately clear. If that's too much commitment to Wikipedia for you, perhaps you can leave a note at the user page of the person who reverted your edits, asking for discussion. TriNotch (talk) 02:57, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Images are traced from other websites[edit]

Whoever submitted the images has traced them from other images, personally i would find it much easier if the original images were posted instead, unless that would cause a copyright issue, but i would think that tracing the image would too


I am currently doing a 3D animation on the subject of evolution, and find it a lot easier to draw an animal if it is shaded (the shading has been ommitted in the tracings)

this is the first reference to human evolution (from bacteria to homo sapien)that i have been able to find, so i would find it very useful if someone could find the original images or direct me to another site (i can't find anything in external links)

Homo floresiensis[edit]

I removed entries for Homo floresiensis; as per its main article, "Whether the specimens represent a new species is a controversial issue within the scientific community." -- Limulus 21:59, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Well a more important reason to remove it is that even if it is a new species it is not an ancestor to humans. It is a seperate descendent from something between australopithecus and ergaster. So it should not be in the list for the same reason that Neanderthal should not be on the list. Qed (talk) 20:46, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Difficulty in parsing a sentence[edit]

I have difficulties in parsing the third sentence in the "850 MYA" entry of the timeline. I really don't know anything about the subject involved to fix it myself, but in the spirit of trying to narrow down what my difficulty is I would have thought that instead of the current

"Proterospongia is not the direct ancestor of sponges, but it looked like what the ancestor of sponges all multicellular animals may have looked like. (the connecting link between protozoa and metazoans.)"

one could have something akin to

"Proterospongia is not the direct ancestor of sponges, but it looked like what the ancestor of sponges and all multicellular animals may have looked like. (the connecting link between protozoa and metazoans.)" -- 02:37, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

You're right, it does need work; I'll try to fix it. -- Limulus 15:47, 10 December 2006 (UTC)


"13 MYA Human ancestors speciate from the ancestors of the great apes." We are great apes. What did the author mean? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 00:24, 2 March 2007 (UTC).

I'm guess they mean from other great apes, but for Pongo that happen much eariler and Pan happen at most 8Mya. (talk) 20:32, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

Some quite major concerns...[edit]

Just a few concerns about the wording of this article. It gives the impression of a linear "ladder" approach to evolution, with other species rungs en route to humanity. Whilst I appreciate that this is to a degree the point of the article, I feel it ought to be done more carefully. I can't quite put my finger on it, but there are lots of statements that give a misleading picture of the process of evolution, making it sound as if it's directed, or at least leads somewhere.

For example, at a first glance, I'm left with the impression that humans evolved from Choanoflagellates, not that we are sister crown groups. Further, the word "lead" is over-used. I can't work out what Eomaia scansoria, a eutherian mammal, leads to the formation of modern placental mammals is meant to imply in the slightest, and many other quotes give a misleading impression...

Further, the graphical timeline does not display properly in Mozilla Firefox. Perhaps consider replacing with a template-based {{Graphical timeline}}?

Verisimilus T 20:54, 23 June 2007 (UTC)

I really don't like the graphics at the bottom of the page. First, I agree with Verisimilus in that it appears that evolution is not a branching process, which we know it is. Secondly, it renders horribly in Apple's Safari. I think it should be deleted, and we go with the written format. Orangemarlin 17:33, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
I also think the grephical timeline should be moved or deleted, because it dont display properly in some browser, and because the article is very large, and the graphical timeline makes the article become even larger.
I have reverted the move of the graphical timeline to a separate article. Please adhere the results of Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Graphical timeline of human evolution, in which consensus agreed the addition of a separate graphical timeline is a content fork. Michaelas10 15:38, 7 July 2007 (UTC)
I have changed the introduction in a manner that I think cautions readers implicitly against viewing species ladders as teleological. Does that help? (BC)

What would god say? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:46, August 27, 2007 (UTC)

As depicted in the movie "Dogma" it is pretty clear that god does not speak, but rather just makes loud noises that blows angel's heads off, kind of like in the movie scanners. Qed (talk) 20:49, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Well if you think about it, humans are evolved from choanflagellates because every single thing in the animal kingdom evolved from choanflagellates Phthinosuchusisanancestor (talk) 15:59, 23 October 2008

Humans and other animals are believed to have evolved from an ancestor of choanoflagellates. But choanoflagellates also evolved from that same ancestor. Animals cannot have evolved from an existing taxa, which has had just as much time to evolve from its ancestor as humans, dogs, sparrows, or aphids. — Twas Now ( talkcontribse-mail ) 16:43, 23 October 2008 (UTC)


should one of these videos be included on the links of timeline of evolution?

Rafaelamonteiro80 16:31, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Don't pay attention to the first vid, its a load of tosh as according to the vid we evolved into monkeys straight away from amphibians which as rubbish as we became reptiles, pelycosaurs, therapsids and proto-mammals during that time Phthinosuchusisanancestor (talk) 10:14, 1 January 2009 (UTC)Phthinosuchusisanancestor

We could, of course, go with this one (lol):

Deepest apologies if I've offended some protocol but I was nor sure where to post. The Human Timeline totally ignores the enigma of Australia, with early hominid skulls 7 million years ago and evidence of land being cleared in controlled burns 120,000 years ago. see — Preceding unsigned comment added by A j beswick (talkcontribs) 15:23, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

Cro Magnon[edit]

Why is cro magnon not listed on the timeline?

Cro-Magnon is an archaic, obsolete term, they are just referred to as early humans or anatomically modern humans. (talk) 20:35, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
Indeed Cro magnon refers to a specific group of cave painting europeans (there are some African cave paintings from roughly the same time period which kind of messes up the old theories) that existed well after they had already evolved fully into humans. The term was a stepping stone in our understanding of human evolution, its not a useful end product of its study. Qed (talk) 20:58, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Date of entering america?[edit]

In the timeline humans are mentioned entering North America at 31 ka. AFAIK, this is about 20.000 years too early, or at least everything I've read suggests than man found America around 12.000 yrs ago. -- 16:37, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

The 11500 B.C.E date is the earliest date of what is known as the "Clovis Culture". For a long time, this was supported as the oldest date for humans in America. However, there are now sites at Meadowcroft and MonteVerde that push the date back to at least 16,000 B.C.E. This doesn't really close the question, however, since there was no obvious way to cross Beringia (the ice bridge connecting what is now Siberia and Alaska) at that time, since it would have been too cold for there to be any vegetation growing there (and therefore no fauna to follow into America.) There are earlier dates such as 30,000 years ago when such crossings are more plausible, but the lack of evidence of any humans between 18,000 and 30,000 years ago makes it hard to commit to that date. The latest idea is that they did indeed come just before 16,000 B.C.E. but via a completely coastal route, relying on fishing for food. Qed (talk) 08:59, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

31Ka does seem to be a bit early for most, some researchers are willing to push it back that far but around 20Ka is more accepted as the first migration and about 12Ka for the second migration. (talk) 20:39, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

The year "12,000" should be suspect for ALL evolutionary Wiki pages. This is the creationist timeframe. On that note, I am editing the species and subspecies entries to the correct years. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:14, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

I thought 6,000 years ago was the critical biblical creationist date. In any event, I hardly think any creationist has the ability to read the rest of the page before that point in order to make some claimed connection with their views anyway. Qed (talk) 08:59, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

images of animals related to commons ancestors[edit]

Branchiostoma lanceolatum.jpg

Latimeria chalumnae01.jpg


Anathana ellioti.jpg


Mateus Zica 04:37, 6 October 2007 (UTC)


The Ma used links to mya (unit), shouldn't it link instead to Annum? -- (talk) 19:58, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

Fixed by replacing link with explanation of term. Verisimilus T 21:56, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

Flat-out-wrong about Pikaia[edit]

Hello- I'd just like to note that the page is completely wrong about Pikaia being the earliest vertebrate/animal with a notochord. There are several organisms earlier(all from 530 mya): Haikouella lanceolata Myllokunmingia fengjiaoa Haikouichthys ercaicunensis Cathaymyrus diadexus And several others that are just as likely to be chordates. Sorry, I'd fix this myself, but I don't have the time right now. InterwebUsr (talk) 14:05, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

Fixed. False vacuum (talk) 15:07, 7 August 2010 (UTC)

FOXP2 Error[edit]

There is an entry claiming that the appearance of human FOXP2 was after the split from Neanderthal. However, the recent genetic analysis of Neanderthal showed that they have the identical FOXP2 gene as we do (this is IN the FOXP2 article). This is in line with Stephen Mithen's theory that Neanderthals could talk and sing just like we do (which predates this genetic analysis.) That means, of course, that the claim of behavioral modernity including the origins of language is highly suspect -- some form of proto-language (at least the ability to articulate modern human-like distinctive sounds) is quite likely much older than the time shown in this list. Qed (talk) 15:19, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

In fact the human/neanderthal FOXP2 variant must have existed at least 300,000-400,000 years ago - see Krause, Lalueza-Fox C, Orlando et al and not the 70ka shown in the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Laetoli (talkcontribs) 05:06, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

From Homo heidelbergensis to white people.[edit]

So, you go from Homo heidelbergensis to a bunch of white people waving. Very racist. Very wrong. Better to add a photo of two Africans. Just can't do it, can you. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:22, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

The image is taken from the Voyager Space craft plate which we affixed to it thinking that if an E.T. were to find it, they might know something about those who created it. Thus those particular pictures have a significance in that its what we think people outside of earth might like to identify as "earthlings". So its has slightly extra meaning in that sense. I perfectly see your point, of course, but who would you pick? The best candidate for what you want would be something like the sketch of Herto man, but unfortunately, he dates to 160kya and so it would be misleading to put him there (in the 195Kya slot.) If you can think of a better candidate for a picture feel free to find one and substitute it. (Just keep in mind that the pictures chosen weren't without some consideration) Qed (talk) 05:06, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
Very late to this party, but in any case "a bunch of white people waving" is flat out wrong, because the figures were deliberately designed to be racially ambiguous, and the woman has noticably Eurasian facial features. {The poster formerly known as} (talk) 01:50, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

Maybe we should use a picture of a khoisan individual .

Haplogroup A is common among Khoisan people.

Haplogroup A (A-M91) refers to a major cluster of human Y-chromosome types that represent one of the two deepest branches of the human Y chromosomal family tree.

Studies suggested that the Khoisan may have been one of the first populations to differentiate from the most recent common paternal ancestor of all extant humans, the so-called Y-chromosomal Adam by patrineal descent, estimated to have lived 60,000 to 90,000 years ago.[1] The authors also note that their results should be interpreted as only finding that the Khoisan "preserve ancient lineages", and not that they "stopped evolving" or are an "ancient group", since subsequent changes in their population are in parallel and similar to those of all other human populations.[2] Mateus Zica (talk) 01:32, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

Sold! Yeah, actually using a haplogroup-A person is also appropriate given the Mar 2010 findings that we H. sapiens with long lineages outside of Africa have Neanderthal genes in us. We might like to distinguish these two lines. Qed (talk) 16:55, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
Or maybe use images of various ethnic ground at the end point of the timeline.

Mateus Zica (talk) 01:39, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

This sounds almost overly "PC"-ish, but I don't have any real objection. Qed (talk) 16:55, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
I really do hate the use of the Voyager space craft plate. The people are so obviously white; the man actively waves while the woman stands by demurely... Ugh! How about this image (from Multiracial American:

Peter coxhead (talk) 17:52, 22 January 2011 (UTC)

I really don't think racism is the real issue here. Or trying to be ultra PC should not be the goal of this article. Recent results from Svaante Pabo have demonstrated that there are basically 3 major genetic groups of humans: African Homo sapiens, Eurasian Homo sapien-Neanderthal cross breeds and the Malineasian Homo sapien-Neanderthal-Denisovan group. We are all mostly African Homo sapien with little bits of the other heidelbergensis branches genes thrown in. I think it would be good maybe to spell that out, since that has some relevance in terms of species group divergence that is backed by something scientific. Qed (talk) 18:32, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

Ridiculous 19th-century Tree of Life[edit]

It's a cute picture, and certainly of historical interest, but on an article like this one which seems to be frequented by, um, nonexperts, is it really a good idea? Creationists like to use stuff like this to "refute Darwinism", you know. False vacuum (talk) 15:10, 7 August 2010 (UTC)

The caption definitely needs to be improved. I've left some notes at File talk:Age-of-Man-wiki.jpg which might help.
(I'm not sure how the picture could be used to refute Darwinism or evolution though. As Tree of life (science) says, "The model of a tree is still considered valid for eukaryotic life forms"). HTH. -- Quiddity (talk) 17:49, 7 August 2010 (UTC)
Ah. I see we also have this image at Introduction to evolution. I'll copy the caption from there. -- Quiddity (talk) 17:53, 7 August 2010 (UTC)

Homo sapiens taxonomy[edit]

In the section "Homo sapiens taxonomy", it's unclear exactly what the "years ago" column really represents. It seems to contradict the later timeline in places. For example, Homo sapiens sapiens is listed as "200,000 years ago", but in the timeline lower on the page, the "earliest fossil evidence for archaic Homo sapiens" is listed at 200,000 years ago. So is this column meant to indicate when that taxonomic group split from its sibling groups? Most recent common ancestor? Other? stvltvs (talk) 04:07, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

File:Kermanshah Neanderthal.jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

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Similar article, merge?[edit]

I've written a similar article in my user area: User:Johntobey/Human_evolutionary_pedigree. Perhaps it could be merged or published separately? (Under what name?) Differences from Timeline of human evolution:

  • Less text, simple table/list.
  • More images.
  • Inline citations on times and alternatives.
  • Focus on relationship to living species as opposed to common ancestors.

Johntobey (talk) 18:23, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

New Mammal[edit]

I am too overworked right now to look into this, but perhaps someone might like to merge this in:

Qed (talk) 23:23, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

Brain evolution[edit]

Hi. An article like this but focused only in the brain would be great. Thanks. emijrp (talk) 22:41, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

  • Hi user:Emijrp , i created this article back in 2005, at that time i also wished to create a article focused on brain evolution but i lacked time.
  • Back then i created a draft of the article on brain evolution User:Mateuszica/Timeline_of_brain_evolution.
  • Do you help me create a publishable draft?

Some Related articles :

Articled that should be create

Mateus Zica (talk) 18:44, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

Hi. You did a great work in that article. I would like to help, but my English is not very fluent. But I can help searching references, images, and writing simple sentences. If we work in the main namespace instead of using a user subpage, we can get other users collaborations. Regards. emijrp (talk) 20:34, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

Wrong use of the debated term "reptile", and several errors regarding amniota lineage[edit]

The modern definition of reptiles is synonym of Sauropsida

(see : )

In the last row of the table "Tetrapods", "300 Ma", it is said: "Hylonomus is the earliest known reptile" (which is true)

"It is a precursor of later Amniotes and mammal-like reptiles." => wrong. Reptiles are amniote, not the opposite. Reptiles are not ancestors of mammal and mammal-like reptiles, but a sister group. They belong to the amniota clades. Amniota are thus not reptiles.

The first sentence is also misleading:

"From amphibians came the first reptiles"

=> No, Amphibia is "sister group" of amniotes, from which emerged reptiles

see also

"Evolution of the amniotic egg gives rise to the Amniota, reptiles that can reproduce on land and lay eggs on dry land"

=> We should just say something like "Evolution of the amniotic egg allowing to lay eggs on dry land is a caracteristic of Amniota"

"Reptiles have advanced nervous systems, compared to amphibians."

=> sentence should be removed.

Let me know what you think about this :) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:27, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

Appearance of neurologically modern humans[edit]

The date at which neurologically modern humans appeared is controversial, and I have made an edit to reflect that. In particular, at the beginning of the article, I have changed the date from "0.07" to "0.2-0.07" to reflect that this could have occurred anytime between 200,000 and 70,000 years ago. This is consistent with information appearing later in the article, including the fact that "mitochondrial Eve," who lived 160,000 years ago, was no different genetically from humans who lived before or after her. This is controversial however, because the Great Leap Forward Theory asserts that genetic changes 70,000 years ago resulted in behavioral modernity suddenly arising, whereas the gradual accumulation theory asserts that fully genetically modern humans arose 200,000 years ago. All of this is discussed in the behavioral modernity article. ChicagoDilettante (talk) 15:31, 2 February 2013 (UTC)


There is some discussion about Neanderthal in the article, which is relevant because of the interbreeding that apparently went on. However, the article has nothing about Denisovan, which also apparently interbred with homo sapiens. I don't know enough about the subject (although interesting) to correct the article without probably making it much worse.

Could someone who knows something address this issue? Thanks,--Fredrik Coulter (talk) 15:52, 12 May 2014 (UTC)


What is the source for the calling modern humans a sub species of Homo Sapiens? In the linked article on Sub species, it is stated that there must be two sub species or none. While their are other species in Homo, what are the other sub species in Homo Sapiens? (talk) 18:05, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ Mayell, Hillary. Documentary Redraws Humans' Family Tree. Accessed September 25, 2010.
  2. ^ Cite error: The named reference was invoked but never defined (see the help page).