How modern humans evolved

Intriguing new fossil and archaeological discoveries and the development of innovative scientific techniques are transforming the understanding of our ancient past, making this an exciting time to be examining the origins of our species.

Professor Chris Stringer and his colleagues in the Human Origins Research Group at the Natural History Museum are at the forefront of research that is changing perceptions about the origin of modern humans.

  • Homo heidelbergensis cranium
    Early beginnings of modern humans

    Find out the features that characterise our own species, Homo sapiens, and get to know some of our most significant early relatives.

  • Modern humans show regional differences in appearance, but we all share a common African ancestry
    Where did modern humans come from?

    Discover how genetic research has revealed new evidence and challenged our thinking about where modern humans originated.

  • Homo sapiens skull from Omo Kibish in Ethiopia
    How long have we been here?

    Who were the first humans and when did they evolve? Learn about the clues that are helping answer these questions.

  • Discover what Bill Bailey, Alice Roberts and other celebrities learned about their genetic ancestry
    Tracing our genetic ancestry

    Our evolutionary history is written in our DNA. Explore how scientists study this record and what six celebrities discovered about themselves.

  • Neanderthal skull
    3D hominid skulls interactive

    Compare the skulls of chimpanzees, modern humans, and some extinct species of hominid, to see which were most closely related and how skull shape has evolved.

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Evolution app for iPad

Our new Evolution app for iPad

Explore more than 650 million years of Earth's extraordinary history with our first app for iPad, NHM Evolution.

Learn about more than 800 creatures and plants, examine spectacular 360° high definition fossil images and watch specially-commissioned videos of Museum experts discussing the latest evolutionary theories.

More about the NHM Evolution app