Where did they all go? How Homo sapiens became the last human species left
At least nine hominin species once roamed the Earth, so what became of our vanished ancestors?
Just 300,000 years ago – a blink in evolutionary time – at least nine species of humans wandered the planet. Today, only our own, Homo sapiens, remains. And this raises one of the biggest questions in the story of human evolution: where did everyone else go?
“It’s not a coincidence that several of them disappeared around the time that Homo sapiens started to spread out of Africa and around the rest of the world,” says Prof Chris Stringer, head of human origins at the Natural History Museum in London. “What we don’t know is if that was a direct connection.”
There are many theories around the disappearance of our human cousins, and limited evidence to decipher exactly what happened. But recent studies are providing tantalising clues.