How Long Have Humans Been on Earth?

It is hard to think about a time when humans were not on the Earth, but there indeed was a time. While it may seem odd to think about the human race in its existence, let’s think about how long have humans been on Earth? 

The question itself may be a little difficult to answer because we need to think about a few specific points regarding the topic of what it means to be “human.” Most of us consider ourselves and those around us in society to be human. We think of civilization as a key factor of what it means to be human, and it is a key force in our understanding of ourselves.

Millions of years ago, “humans” may have walked on two legs like us, but they were very different from us. They had to hunt and gather food and they had to brave the environment in order to survive. The structure and anatomy of early humans are much different than humans now. Currently, we humans are much lighter than our ancestors. We have large brains with a skull that has high and thin walls. We have thinner jaws and smaller teeth. Our ancestors millions did not have these features, but the features we see now slowly evolved as time passed.

When we think of humans in the past, we need to think of humans that have some of the same general characteristics as us, but they do not look or act like us.

We are still learning about our ancestors, but we guess that the first humans existed between five and seven million years ago: the median time is six million years ago. These humans walked upright on two legs, just like us. Around 90,000 years ago, these humans started making tools to catch fish. Then, around 12,000 years ago, humans began to grow food and change their surroundings in order to survive and eat. As food became more sustainable, and living became easier, humans began to produce more.

As humans developed and grew, their bodies changed. Their brains became bigger, which helped them to develop new tools, including language. They changed the world around them to better survive harsh and changeable weather. Over time, these humans created civilizations and became what we know as humans now.

It may seem like humans have been around for a while, because six million years seems like a long time; in the overall timeline of the Earth, however, six million years is not very long. The Earth itself is 4.5 billion years old. Nonetheless, the six million years humans have been on Earth has allowed them to evolve, build tools, create civilizations, adapt to their environment, and become the humans we are today.