Human Evolution

Meet your ancient relatives, trace the origins and evolution of our species, and explore what makes us human.

Embark on a seven-million-year journey, from the first hominins to the last surviving human species: us.

Investigate what defines a hominin and how much we modern humans have in common with other human species, as well as what sets us apart.

Along the way you will discover the changes in physical characteristics, diet, lifestyles and environments that have shaped modern humans.

'It's fantastic to see such extremely good reproductions of important new fossil discoveries like Ardi and Homo floresiensis, as well as the latest groundbreaking research into the ancient human occupation of Britain, embedded in this gallery.'  - Dr Alice Roberts

Star specimens and exhibits

  • 3.5-million-year-old Laetoli canine, the oldest hominin fossil in the Museum's collection
  • Gibraltar 1 skull, the first adult Neanderthal skull ever found
  • skull and hand casts of the recently discovered human species, Homo naledi
  • scientifically accurate life-size Neanderthal and early Homo sapiens models
  • 420,000-year-old Clacton spear, the oldest preserved wooden spear in the world
  • Cheddar Man skeleton and model head reconstruction with fascinating insights into the cultural practices of early modern humans in Britain, including a human skull shaped into a cup

Explore the galleries with the Museum map

Find out how to get around with the Museum map. There are four zones to discover.