Diagrammatic representation of the
divergence of modern taxonomic
groups from their common ancestor.
Processes and outcomes[show]
History of evolutionary theory[show]
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Human evolution refers to the evolutionary process leading up to the appearance of modern humans. While it began with the last common ancestor of all life, the topic usually covers only the evolutionary history of primates, in particular the genus Homo, and the emergence of Homo sapiens as a distinct species of hominids (or "great apes"). The study of human evolution involves many scientific disciplines, including physical anthropology, primatology, archaeology, linguistics, evolutionary psychology, embryology and genetics.
According to genetic studies, primates diverged from other mammals about 85 million years ago in the Late Cretaceous period, and the earliest fossils appear in the Paleocene, around 55 million years ago. The family Hominidae diverged from the Hylobatidae (Gibbon) family 15-20 million years ago, and around 14 million years ago, the Ponginae (orangutans), diverged from the Hominidae family. Bipedalism is the basic adaption of the Hominin line, and the earliest bipedal Hominin is considered to be either Sahelanthropus or Orrorin, with Ardipithecus, a full bipedal, coming somewhat later. The gorilla and chimpanzee diverged around the same time, about 4-6 million years ago, and either Sahelanthropus or...