18 – First migration out of Africa

1.8 million years ago

For millions of years, our ancestors lived, died, and survived on the continent of Africa, where our own species arose. While the regions, ecosystems, and pressures that shaped their lives varied intensely throughout time and space, Africa as a continent is the place where our lineage descends. Fossil evidence shows that early hominins explored the world beyond the African continent by at least 1.8 million years ago. These early trail blazers belonged to the species Homo erectus, and they migrated out of Africa in multiple waves. Homo erectus fossils have been found in Dmanisi, Republic of Georgia dating to 1.8 million years ago, indicating that the species first left at some point earlier than that. It is unclear why Homo erectus migrated out of Africa, but they may have been following the migration of game herds.

Image credit Curtis Marean.


    Pleistocene2.58 million to 11,700 years ago

Environmental and Climate Changes

  • Pleistocene glaciation 2.5 Ma

Changing Species