• Question: Who was the first person on earth

    Asked by Dragoscience to Jonathan, Kellie, Kevin, Melissa on 4 May 2016.
    • Photo: Jonathan Jackson

      Jonathan Jackson answered on 4 May 2016:

      It’s hard to know the answer to this question, mainly because we have to figure out what we mean by “person.” Does it count if the “person” looked like us? Did they have to be as tall? Did they have to be as smart?

      We may not ever know who the first person on earth was. But thanks to lots of careful work, we may someday learn out about the first *groups* of people on earth!

    • Photo: Kellie Jaremko

      Kellie Jaremko answered on 4 May 2016:

      Jonathan is right. We can’t really know with certainty who was the first person. Often people talk about “Lucy” a 3.2 million-year-old hominin (human-like primate) that was discovered. Recently they found bones they believe to be even older: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-31718336 It’s all relative to the oldest sources we find for information.

    • Photo: Melissa Wilson Sayres

      Melissa Wilson Sayres answered on 4 May 2016:

      The first population of modern humans is estimated to have lived about 200,000 years ago. When we think of species, we always have to think in terms of populations, not individuals. Mutations occur in individuals, but populations evolve.

      Here’s more about modern humans and human origins: http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/species/homo-sapiens