Study Shows That Humans’ Earliest Ancestors Lived With Dinosaurs

human evolution

A new study insists that human ancestors survived the asteroid impact that is believed to have killed the dinosaurs. If this is true, it offers a completely new insight into the timeline of human evolution.

What Are the Details Surrounding This Eye-Opening Study?

human evolution
Photo Credit: Fausto Garcia Menendez via Unsplash

A team of paleontologists from the University of Bristol and the University of Fribourg published a study in Current BiologyAfter closely analyzing the fossil record, they deduced that placental mammals—warm-blooded vertebrates who provide milk to their offspring via mammary glands—originated in the early Crestaceous period. 

The Cretaceous period refers to a geological era that began 145 million years ago and ended 66 million years ago. With its end also came the end of the dinosaurs, as an asteroid crashed along the coast of Mexico. 

The impact sent soot traveling around the world. While it didn’t completely block out the sun, it greatly reduced the amount of light that reached Earth’s surface. This negatively affected plant growth, and soon 75% of the world’s animal populations—including the dinosaurs—went extinct due to a lack of food.

Why Did Placental Mammals Live on When Dinosaurs Went Extinct?

The results of the paleontologists’ study also insinuate that placental mammals began to flourish because of the disappearance of dinosaurs. Essentially, had the dinosaurs not gone extinct, humans would likely have never evolved.

This is because the dinosaurs used placental mammals as a meal source. With the dinosaurs extinct, these placental species were free to thrive and eventually evolve into humans. 

No, Humans Did Not Co-Exist With Dinosaurs

It is important to note the distinction between humans’ earliest ancestors co-existing with dinosaurs vs. humans themselves co-existing with dinosaurs. UK news outlet The Daily Mail published a piece on the aforementioned study entitled Humans DID Live With Dinosaurs

While the piece has thankfully been corrected, it is a perfect example of ways in which some outlets alter information to push an agenda.

But how long did these placental mammals take to evolve into the modern-day humans? Well, fossil records show that the earliest humans evolved in Africa between six and two-million years ago. At this time, there were about 15 to 20 different species of human.

The first modern humans are thought to have evolved between 200,000 and 300,000 years ago. They began moving outside of Africa 70,000 to 100,000 years ago. They developed the capacity for language 50,000 years ago.

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