While people used to think that there was a
single line of human species, with one
evolving after the other in an inevitable
march towards modern humans, we now know
this is not the case.
Like most other mammals, we are part of a
large and diverse family tree.
Fossil discoveries show that the human
family tree has many more branches and
deeper roots than we knew about even a
couple of decades ago.
In fact, the number of branches our
evolutionary tree, and also the length of
time, has nearly doubled since the famed
‘Lucy’ fossil skeleton was discovered in
There were periods in the past when three or
four early human species lived at the same
time, even in the same place. We – Homo
sapiens – are now the sole surviving
species in this once diverse family tree.