At the turn of this century in 2002, an amazing discovery by an international group of anthropologists was made in the Sahel region of the African country of Chad. They had claimed to unearth the earliest hominid ever found, and named their discovery Sahelanthropus tchadensis. This discovery included a nearly complete skull of an early hominid who they nicknamed Toumaï, meaning “hope of life” in the local Goran dialect of Chad.
Why was walking on two legs so important for our species? Well, upright walking bestows several advantages upon the walker. For one, it made sahelanthropus a bit taller, allowing him to see above the brush and find sources of food or identify danger much easier. It also freed up his arms which allowed him to carry things and eventually develop and use tools and other objects to aid him in life.
About 1.8 million years ago, our early human ancestors began to leave Africa. They first spread out to Eurasia and later on (about 800,000 years ago) towards continental Europe. Eventually, about 200,000 years ago, they evolved into homo sapiens, beings more like the modern humans of today. This evolution was also believed to have taken place in Africa and spread out yet again to all corners of the world: the Middle East around 125,000 years ago, South Asia 50,000 years ago, Europe about 40,000 years ago and East Asia about 20,000 years ago. As for traveling to the Americas, no one really knows when this exactly took place, but most scholars believe that the first humans started migrating there sometime between 30,000 and 15,000 years ago via a land bridge that existed between what is now eastern Siberia, Alaska and northwestern Canada.
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