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An early hominid, Homo erectus, depicted in this diorama from the American Museum of Natural History's Hall of Human Biology and Evolution, lived nearly 2 million years ago in the eastern Rift Valley of Africa.

From the Smithsonian: Sahelanthropus tchadensis is one of the oldest known species on the human family tree and lived between 7 and 6 million years ago in West-Central Africa (Chad). Walking upright may have helped this species survive in diverse habitats—including forests and grasslands.

HOMO ERGASTER (Wikipedia.org) 'The Working Man' (aka African Homo erectus) is a chronospecies of Homo that lived in eastern and southern Africa during the early Pleistocene, between 1.8 million and 1.3 million years ago.

Homo heidelbergensis... "was first early human species to live in colder climates, their ­­­short, wide bodies were likely an adaptation to conserving heat. It lived at the time of the oldest definite control of fire and use of wooden spears, and it was the first early human species to routinely hunt large animals. This early human also broke new ground; it was the first species to build shelters—creating simple dwellings out of wood and rock."

BBC Newsfrom BBC News

New human species identified from Kenya fossils

Researchers studying fossils from northern Kenya have identified a new species of human that lived two million years ago. The discoveries suggests that at least three distinct species of humans co-existed in Africa. The research adds to a growing body of evidence that runs counter to the popular perception that there was a linear evolution from early primates to modern humans. "Homo rudolfensis". http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v488/n7410/full/nature11322.html

Homo ergaster (African Homo erectus): an extinct chronospecies of Homo that lived in eastern and southern Africa during early Pleistocene, between 1.8 and 1.3 million years ago; widely accepted to be the direct ancestor of later hominids

io9from io9

8 Incredible Facts You May Not Know About Human Evolution

8 Incredible Facts You May Not Know About Human Evolution - Early human beings left Africa over 1 million years ago

The most complete pre-human skull fossil ever found, a 1.8-million-year-old specimen, has been unearthed in rural Dmanisi, Georgia. The skull fossil is special not only in that it places the early hominid exodus out of Africa about 800,000 years earlier than previously thought, but also because it suggests that Homo habilis, Homo rudolfensis and Homo erectus are in fact all part of a single evolving lineage that eventually led to modern humans.

Homo neanderthalensis dates back only 28,000 to 200,000 years ago. It is not an ancestor of humans but a separate hominid species that lived simultaneously with humans for a while before extinction. Some scientists believe the 2 hominid species may have interbred. Evidence shows that Neanderthals may have dug graves for their dead, which marks the first of the hominids to do so.

the Guardianfrom the Guardian

Our human ancestors and their relatives – in pictures

Australopithecus afarensis, an extinct hominid that lived in eastern Africa between about 3.9 & 2.9 million yrs ago

BBC Newsfrom BBC News

Blow to multiple human species idea

The 1.8 million-year-old skull is the most complete hominid skull ever found. The idea that there were several different human species walking the Earth two million years ago has been dealt a blow. Instead, scientists say early human fossils found in Africa and Eurasia may have been part of the same species. Continue story -

Mail Onlinefrom Mail Online

Ancient 'X-Woman' discovered as man's early ancestors are pictured together for the first time

Homo rudolfensis - was found in Koobi Fora, Kenya, in 1972. The adult male is believed to have lived about 1.8million years ago. He used stone axes, ate meat and plants, and lived on the wooded edge of Lake Turkana in Eastern Africa

Homo erectus ("upright man") is an extinct species of hominid that lived about 1.3 to 1.8 million years ago. The species originated in Africa and spread as far as India, China and Java. It is debated that it may be identical to Homo ergaster, which is commonly accepted as the direct ancestor of modern humans.

A New View of Evolution by sciencemag: This is a 1.77-million-year-old complete adult skull (braincase volume: 546 cubic centimeters) of early Homo from the site of Dmanisi, Georgia. Together with the fossilized bones of four additional individuals discovered in close proximity, the skull indicates that populations of early Homo comprised a wider range of morphological variation than traditionally assumed, which implies a single evolving lineage... #Science #Human_Evolution

Homo heidelbergensis (also Homo rhodesiensis) is an extinct species of the genus Homo which lived in Africa, Europe and western Asia from at least 600,000 years ago. It survived until about 200,000 to 250,000 years ago. Its brain was nearly as large as that of a modern Homo sapiens. It is very likely the direct ancestor of Homo sapiens (Africa) and the Neanderthals (Europe), and perhaps also the Denisovans (Central Asia). First discovered near Heidelberg in Germany in 1907.

Paranthropus boisei. an early hominin that lived in East Africa between 2.3 and 1.2 million years ago, mainly ate tiger-nuts – edible bulbous tubers of the sedge Cyperus esculentus