Understanding our ancient ancestors may help us better address health risks today.
By understanding more about these prehistoric people, we can learn about who we are as a species today. Our ancestors’ experiences shaped us, and they may still hold answers to some of our current health problems, from diabetes to depression.
We don’t know how many species of humans there have been, how many different races of people, but the evidence suggests that around 600,000 years ago one species emerged in Africa that used fire, made simple tools from stones and animal bones, and hunted big animals in large cooperative groups. And 500,000 years ago, these humans, known as Homo heidelbergensis, began to take advantage of fluctuating climate changes that regularly greened the African continent, and spread into Europe and beyond.