logo Click BACK to return to basecamp
Lost Teachers
Search Info
White beveled edge

Meet Team

Team Archive



Where Did Humans Come From?
September 20, 2000


Think about a crowded movie theater. So many people! And those folks are just a fraction of the people living all over the world. Where did we all come from?

Using ancient fossils, scientists have been able to figure out how human beings got started and spread around the world. Imagine a long, long time ago - 65 million years ago. After all the dinosaurs had died, early primates developed in southern Africa. About 15 to 30 million years ago, groups of those early primates started to split up. Some monkeyed around in the trees. Others lived on the ground and became "ground apes."

These apes began developing into early humans. They were only about three and a half feet tall, but they walked upright and had big brains. From these primates came a new creature, Homo habilis. They're the first group scientists call Homo, which means human. They used stone tools, and they lived in Africa.

After many, many years, and many different groups of people, came Homo sapiens, or modern human beings - like you and me, with our big, big brains! Still, there was one other kind of human left: Neanderthals. Neanderthals were not that different from modern humans, but if you saw them, you might think they were pretty ugly. They had longer skulls than living humans do, with larger faces and teeth. They had no chins, and big, bony brows. They could survive harsh, cold weather, and they were good at making tools. Even so, Neanderthals died out about 30,000 years ago.

So if these people lived in Africa, how did we get to be all over the planet, and how did there get to be people in North America? Over thousands of years, modern humans moved all over the earth, walking into Europe and Asia. Usually they were just trying to find more food and a better place to live. They crossed from Asia to North America on a land bridge that is now buried under the ocean because the level of the oceans rose! People just kept spreading and there got to be more and more of them. And now people from all over the world fill up that crowded movie theater!

The Team


Links to Other Dispatches

Rebecca - Goopy goo and mammoth tusks
Nick - Is that a spear in your backyard?
Stephanie - The hunt is on!
Team - It's cool being 3 feet tall