>>7854792 This shit is pretty well explained on wikipedia, but since you want the less accurate version of the story straight from my memory, without me going back to reference sources (I learned this shit in 2008 so some people will doubtless be correcting me as I go):
Hominids as a family evolved from primate ancestors in central africa something like 5 million years or less ago.
Australopithecus is the first recognized hominid genus, which arose about 2.3mya in the Rift Valley of Africa. Both species of Australopithecene - A. robustus and A. afarensis, the more gracile of the two species, evidenced social lives, tool use, and upright walking.
Homo Habilis evolved from the gracile Australopithecene lineage something like 1.2mya(?) and expanded the territory of Homo to include most of what is today Africa and possibly some of the Middle East. H. Habilis was more gracile still than his predecessors, walked more upright, and had less body hair. He used a more sophisticated toolset which included the acheulean handeaxe, one of the most long-lasting human tools ever devised. Habilis evidenced continued development of group behavior, tool use, hunting, and possibly fire.
Homo Erectus is where shit really starts to get crazy. Evolving relatively shortly after Habilis and coexisting with that lineage in parts of Africa, Erectus was driven by changing climate and changing adaptive strategies out of Africa, starting the diaspora which would define the hominids thereafter. H. Erectus was a robust species with sophisticated tool use, mastery of fire, sophisticated group behavior and hunting, and a dentition that showed evolution corresponding to an increased omnivorous behavior and preference for soft (cooked) foods. Erectus probably used a very sophisticated proto language.
As H. Erectus branched into Europe and Asia, the demands of natural selection gave rise to the Neanderthals, which inhabited Europe and the Middle East, and the Denisovans, TBC.
>>7855338 Cont'd The Denisovans, which inhabited parts of Asia. These stockier, more robust hominids, arising several hundred thousand years ago, were finely adapted to their new, colder environments, and with them came several novel adaptations which would see continued usage in later species. While not much is yet known about the Denisovans, we know that Homo Neanderthalensis incorporated most of the prior adaptations (a notable exception being the generalist diet; while dentition had not changed fast enough to reflect it due to the invention of cooking fires, Neanderthalensis was probably an almost exclusive (though not obligate) carnivore. Tool use reached extremely sophisticated levels among these peoples, characterized by a toolset known as the Mousterian, which included knives, skinners, axes, atlatl spearheads, and fish hooks. Neanderthals probably developed "white" skin in response to the need to develop vitamin D from weaker northern sunlight. Most surprising of all, Neanderthalensis developed very abstract thinking skills, leading to the development of cave art and probably ritual burials. Trade routes and intergroup interactions were common, though debate still rages about whether Neanderthalensis and/or Denisovans were actually capable of Natural Language. Extremely sophisticated protolanguage is probably the minimally imaginable situation. Evidence of support of elder group members is strong evidence that Neanderthals at least passed knowledge between generations in some fashion.
Meanwhile, back in th Rift Valley, H. Sapiens evolves about 150,000 years ago. This was not a clean-cut evolution, and in the past primitive (early) versions of this lineage were called cro-magnons or primitive homo sapiens, to help differentiate. Sapiens was an extremely interesting development, arising out of an H. Erectus-derived lineage that probably saw similar developments as the Neanderthals and Denisovans, but in slightly different directions and under different selective pressures. Cranial size is actually REDUCED from the Neanderthals, leading to speculation about caloric intake being an especially strong factor in hominid evolution at this point (the theory goes that we evolved smaller brains to use less energy and reduce the fitness required to give birth successfully). H. Sapiens has other fascinating new features - natural language by at least 50,000 years ago, extreme loss of body hair, very large group cooperation (~150 individuals per group as opposed to earlier limits around 75). Taller, more gracile than Neanderthal and Denisovan predecessors, extremely reduced bite strength, "bubble-head" (more space devoted in cranial cavity to the prefrontal cortex, which we know enables some of our most sophisticated reasoning powers). Religious behavior, monogamy, and sophisticated toolkits - while known to some degree in earlier species of hominid - reached new heights with H. Sapiens (though it is interesting to note that initial Sapiens toolkits are the same as, or slightly inferior to, the Mousterian toolkit, which we may have copied and iterated on). Homo Sapiens experienced some kind of extreme hardship relatively early on, about 70,000ya, that reduced populations to very low numbers. After this point, some H. Sapiens left Africa and spread around the world slowly, reaching the Middle East and Europe by at least 90,000ya, most of Asia by 70-50,000ya, the Americas by at least 30,000ya, and Australia by a similar amount.
Well, I've fact-checked myself and I've already made several errors, but I guess I got the gist of it, so I'll keep going.
Everywhere H. Sapiens went, he raped and killed. Or, according to more charitable theories, he outcompeted native Neanderthal, Denisovan, and Erectus species and their offshoots. The result is that by 30,000ya, H. Sapiens is really the only remaining hominid besides a few possible relict populations in southern Spain and the islands of the South Pacific. Neanderthalensis interbreeds significantly with H. Sapiens to the point where white people and gingers are basically created, but eventually Neanderthalensis goes the way of the dinosaurs as well.
Theories about why H. Sapiens was able to be so competitive with other hominids abound, but really it was probably a combination of changing climate, larger group cooperation, and more sophisticated language processing capabilities. Disease resistance may have also played a role, but since epidemics are not a thing in small, distributed populations, it was probably a minor role.
It should be kept in mind that for all this time, the total population of all hominid lineages alive at any one time cannot have been more than a few hundred thousand at best. Population levels remained very low. Societies were either entirely nomadic or semi-nomadic, and food was gathered and hunted, with very little cultivation. During this time the dog was domesticated from wolves, but other domesticated species would not arise until much later.
At some point here, most of the megafauna left over from the last Ice Age dies off.
Agriculture and pastoral life starts to get going by 10,000ya, and really is underway large-scale and intensively by 4,000ya, around the time the first written languages arise. Population centers of note include the Indus River Valley, Fertile Crescent, Central America, Yellow River in China, and the Nile River valley.
>>7855580 I should probably mention that's pretty much it. Once you get to written language History takes over from Anthropology, and Cultural Evolution takes precedence over ongoing genetic evolution, which is certainly still underway, but in mysterious ways.
>>7854803 >different theories Red Queen looks good. Bitches, they wanted their men to have bigger brains so the brain turned into an ornament and grew to epic proportions. In fact, if the female cervix was any larger she couldn't even walk, the enormous birth canal - the gap - combined with a very long dependency phase we have pretty much hit the limit on how big the human brain can get. All of this...it's what woman wanted. It's all pointless really.
>>7855580 >Agriculture and pastoral life starts Magic mushrooms, they were following primitive cows around eating them...ranching was developed first, then agriculture.
>>7856589 Yeah, big brains don't really mean success in the long term, looking around at the joint these days, I would be surprised if modern human survived another 10 million years on the planet.
>>7856615 Another theory is the murder theory. The same reasons humans initially got bigger and bigger, was to kill neighboring tribes and take their stuff. It works better if you can just out think, out tool, and out coordinate the enemy.
Big dumb loner guy loses to little fast guy who throws sharp rocks with all his buddies. Hence, long legs, language, toolmaking, and social coordination. Not to mention our weird power of throwing things accurately at long distances.
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