The human evolution timeline shown above indicates when each of the various hominid types existed. The bars showing the timespan during which each hominid existed are color coded to indicate genus (all hominids in a given genus have time bars that are the same color).
(for a listing of brief information about each hominid, together with thumbnail-sized photos of their skulls, see the human evolution chart). The timeline above covers the last seven million years of human evolution. Note that the time spans shown represent currently available data and will be updated on an ongoing basis as new facts come to light. The time spans shown in this human evolution timeline are based strictly on paleontological data, the most reliable source of information. Together, these hominids represent all of the fossil evidence for human evolution.
The visual format of the timeline allows easy comparison of the lengths of time that different hominids existed, and makes it clear which different types overlapped in time. For example, in the timeline it's immediately obvious that Homo erectus (see figure, right) existed longer than any other hominid and coexisted during that time with no less than ten other types of hominids.
*The earliest fossil assigned to Homo rudolfensis, KNM-ER 1470, is of uncertain age (at least 1.9, but perhaps as much as 2.5 million years old).