6 Things We Learned At The New Human Evolution Gallery

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 38 months ago
6 Things We Learned At The New Human Evolution Gallery
Models in gallery (c) Trustees of NHM

Thought the Natural History Museum was all dinosaur skeletons and wildlife photography? Think again. A new gallery, opened last week, focuses on human evolution spanning 7 million years. We went along to meet our ancestors and learn a thing or two.

  1. Island Dwarfism — the process where a species decreases in size due to living in an isolated population — has affected humans too. Human dwarfism took place on the Indonesian island of Flores 1 million years ago.
  2. The oldest human footprints in Europe were found in Norfolk in 2013, dating back 900,000 years.
  3. We're ultimately all descended from Africans — predominantly from two waves of migration out of Africa which took place 120,000 years ago and 60,000 years ago.
  4. Climate change isn't a modern problem — it's thought that an unstable climate contributed to the extinction of the Neanderthals, who couldn't adapt to rapid climate changes.
  5. The oldest wooden spear in the world was found in Clacton, Essex, dating back around 420,000 years.
  6. For residents of Boxgrove in West Sussex, rhinoceros and other large animals were a regular part of their diet — and their main competition for food were wolves and hyenas.

If this has whetted your appetite for all things Human Evolution, the gallery at Natural History Museum is open now and free to visit.

While you're there, why not check out the Wildlife Photography of the Year exhibition or dive the Great Barrier Reef with David Attenborough?

Last Updated 21 December 2015