The Human Family Tree - The National Geographic Channel sets out to trace the ancestral origins. Regardless of race, nationality or religion, all of us can trace our ancient origin back to the cradle of humanity, East Africa. What did our collective journey look like, and where did it take your specific ancestors? At what point in our past did we first cross paths with the supposed strangers living in our neighborhood?
So far we have unearthed fossil evidence from more than 20 different human-like species, known as hominins, who are more closely related to humans than any of the apes alive today. Meet some of our oldest relatives below and discover what insights they can provide about our own evolution.
The oldest evidence for material culture in the human family tree extends back to nearly 2.6 million years ago (Ma) in Africa. Stone tools found at sites dated roughly between 2.6 and 1.6 million years ago are attributed to the Oldowan Industrial Complex, named after the type site of Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania (Plummer, 2004