Throughout our evolution timeline, we coexisted with several early human species and descended from a common ancestor 6 million years ago.

During the late Miocene epoch, between 5 and 7 million years ago, East Africa looked very different compared to today. Rather than dry deserts, the land that makes up present-day Ethiopia, Chad and Kenya was then densely wooded with rain forests and ample water supply. And within these rugged forests lived a population of primates that would become contemporary humans — millions of years down the line.

What Did Humans Evolve From?

Much of human evolution happened in this tiny portion of the world. While we are both primates, we did not evolve from chimpanzees and bonobos, two species that are today found mostly in Central Africa, in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo. Our first known common ancestor is Sahelanthropus tchadensis, a species found in Chad that dates to around 6 million years ago.

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