• Question: How did humans evolve from nothing to neanderthal, as you have amazingly explained how they evolved from neanderthal to us?

    Asked by lectureattendee to James, Anthony on 31 Jan 2019.
    • Photo: James Cole

      James Cole answered on 31 Jan 2019:

      Neanderthals evolved from a last common ancestor shared with our species Homo sapiens. It is currently thought from genetic studies that this common ancestor may have lived somewhere around 700 thousand years ago. We do not know however what species that common ancestor was. Currently we know of two hominin species that were alive at this time, Homo antecessor (which lived in Europe and we have fossil evidence of in Spain) or Homo rhodesiensis (which lived in Africa). Those species probably evolved from a common ancestor like Homo erectus (who lived from around 2 million years ago to between 200 – 40 thousand years ago). However, human ancestors have been evolving for around 7 million years in total from when we shared a last common ancestor with chimpanzees.