The early history of human evolution have remained part of the period called prehistory, when a man has not develop an idea of writing the record of his activity. Therefore, our knowledge of prehistory relied on the works of archaeologists who study the remains of mankind who lived in the past. This made it necessary for the history of human evolution to heavily relied on the archaeological, anthropological as well as biological findings.
Archaeologists today used effective and efficient tools and methods like radioactive elements in recovering the activities of man in the past. For example, in 1974 archaeologist Donald Johnson discovered the skeletal remains of a hominid, an ancestor of the present day human beings, and estimated that the remains were about 4 million old.
Biology also played an important role in the process of finding out the true history of human evolution, that is why famous Scottish biologist Charles Darwin have theorized a theory of human evolution, in which he concluded that humans have descended from the same ancestors as the larger apes. Even though, many scholars debunked this theory.
Archeological evidence have shown us that hominids, the ancestors of present day humans were on earth about 4 million years back. Their remains and tools show the gradual development of the basic capabilities which differentiated them from other animals. These unique characteristics include (1) upright posture (2) the use of language (3) the ability to have and use ideas.
Africa as the First Home of Man
Some discoveries made in Africa have substantially pointed Africa as the place where first hominids appeared. In 1959, archeologists Mary Leaky and her husband made a discovery at a site called Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania where they discovered the skull of the first human being which was estimated to have lived for about 2 million years ago.
In 1974, another archaeologist Donald Johnson have made a discovery at a site in Hadar, in Ethiopia. Donald discovered remains of a hominid female who was estimated to have existed 2 to 3 million years ago. The fossils of this hominid was named Australopithecus Afarensis and popularly known as Lucy.
Therefore, the above discoveries have supported the arguments which pointed out Africa as the first land that gave birth to all humans.
Many discoveries or findings about early human advancement have provided evidence that early hominids lived and traveled in a group which comprised not more than 10 to 50 individuals. They also developed smaller tools which were more pointing at their ends for the purpose of hunting animals.
By about 750,000 to 500,000 years ago some hominids especially living in the tropical Africa started migration to places in Eaurasia (Europe and Asia). Evidences of hominids found in England, France, Spain, China, and Indonesia have proved this. For example, a hominid remain was found in a cave near Beijing in China, and was named Peking Man.
As the early humans were able to start migration to Eaurasia which is more cold than the Africa, the use and control of fire fire was developed for the purpose of warming, cooking, and even lighting their surroundings. A discovery made in Yunan Province of China in 1985 which discovered blackened mammal bones, have proved this claim.
The Emergence of Modern Man
Gradually, by about 195,000 years ago, modern man scientifically called Homo Sapien began to appear. Gradually he acquired many new skills and more standard physical characteristics similar to present man. For example, brain similar in size to that of the present man was discovered in Morocco which was estimated to be within this timespan.
The remains of the first known man similar to present man discovered to date was found in Neanderthal Valley in Germany. This skeleton tagged as Neanderthal Man was part of Homo Sapiens group (modern man) that have complex brains, and developed language and culture like burying their deads.
The exact and more refined modern man called Homo Sapiens Sapiens ( the wise man) if the study of anatomy is concerned have evolved about 40, 000 years ago. And since that time human evolution has remained cultural not biological.
The evolution of man if we consider the above explanations, is only scientific arguments that is entirely discussed. Therefore, there are other fields that formulated theories about the origin of human beings, like religious theories of the evolution of human beings.