Meet the predecessors, including Homo erectus, Neanderthals and australopithecines. Who were our closest relatives? Weigh up the evidence and decide for yourself.
The gallery is located at the top of the grand Central Hall staircase on the upper mezannine level.
Among the remarkable cave finds in the gallery is this early Neanderthal skull, which is about 400,000 years old. Several features set it apart from modern humans, including a prominent brow ridge and heavy jaw. The stocky build of Neanderthals helped them to survive harsh ice age temperatures.
Homo sapiens – find out what made us what we are today, where the remains of the earliest modern human have been found, and the evidence for modern people originating in Africa.
This tiny skeleton was a sensational find. Nicknamed Lucy, it’s the bones of an australopithecine, a creature that lived between 5–1.5 million years ago. Australopithecines walked upright, and there’s evidence to suggest they are more closely related to us than to gorillas and chimpanzees.
Our Place in Evolution explores the characteristics we share with chimpanzees and gorillas. Find out how humans are related to other apes, living and extinct.
Remains of Homo erectus have been found in rocks more than 1.5 million years old. They shared a lot with modern humans, including large brains and upright walking, and there’s also evidence to show they used fire.
Neanderthals lived from over 200,000 to about 30,000 years ago, and may have been the first to bury their dead. The display shows some of the characteristics they share with modern humans. Were they our ancestors? You decide.
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.