How Long Have Humans Been Around Relative to the Earth's Age?

Not long. If you condense the history of the Earth — about 4.54 billion years — to just one year, humans have been been here for only about 23 minutes of that one year. In real time, humans have been on the Earth about 200,000 years. The sun predates us all, however — it is estimated to be about 4.57 billion years old.

More universal knowledge:

  • One of the oldest human settlements found is in an area of Ethiopia called Middle Awash. The settlement dates to about 160,000 years ago.

  • Humans mostly lived in the area of Africa until about 70,000 years ago. The first humans populated the Americas about 14,500 years ago.

  • C.C. Patterson is credited for dating the Earth. In 1956, he determined the approximate age by performing a type of lead test on the Canyon Diablo meteorite, among others. His calculations have been backed up by hundreds of later tests.

  • No one really knows how old the universe is, but current theories estimate it at about 13.75 billion years.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long have humans been on Earth compared to the planet's age?

Modern humans, Homo sapiens, have been around for approximately 300,000 years, according to recent findings. In contrast, Earth is about 4.54 billion years old. This means that humans have been present for just a tiny fraction of Earth's history, roughly 0.006% of the planet's age.

When did the first human ancestors appear?

The first human ancestors, belonging to the genus Australopithecus, appeared around 4 million years ago. These early hominins were pivotal in the human evolutionary timeline, leading to the genus Homo, which includes modern humans and our closest extinct relatives.

What is the significance of the Homo genus in human evolution?

The Homo genus marks a significant evolutionary step, emerging around 2.5 million years ago. Members of this genus, including Homo habilis and Homo erectus, exhibited increased brain size and complexity, use of tools, and a transition to more diverse diets, setting the stage for the eventual rise of Homo sapiens.

How does the timeline of human existence compare to other species on Earth?

Compared to many species, humans are relatively new to Earth. For example, sharks have existed for over 400 million years, and dinosaurs roamed the planet between 230 and 65 million years ago. In contrast, modern humans' 300,000-year tenure is a blink of an eye in the vast timeline of life on Earth.

What are some of the key milestones in human evolution?

Key milestones in human evolution include the development of bipedalism over 4 million years ago, the use of tools around 2.5 million years ago, the control of fire by Homo erectus approximately 1 million years ago, and the emergence of symbolic language and art with modern Homo sapiens around 100,000 years ago.

How has the understanding of human origins changed with recent discoveries?

Recent discoveries, such as the unearthing of older Homo sapiens fossils and sophisticated tools, have pushed back the timeline of modern human origins and suggested a more complex evolutionary process. These findings have refined our understanding of migration patterns, interbreeding with other hominins, and the development of culture and technology.

More Info: Wikipedia; Universe Today

Discussion Comments


The earth wasn't here at the beginning of the universe, so no way it's 13.75 trillion or billion years old, unless you meant universe instead of earth, in which case I say show us the report where they say the universe is trillions of years old.


Some NASA scientists currently put the age of the earth nearer to 13 trillion years, not just 13.75 billion.

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