Climate Events

Sea-Level Events

Tectonic Events

Hominin Evolutionary Events

Archaeological Record Events

Fossil Record Events (other than hominins)

2-0.5 Ma

  • 1.9-1.7 Ma: Lake phase in NE Africa.

  • 1.8-1.6 Ma: Development of modern tropical global SST gradients.

  • 1.8-1.6 Ma: Greatest expansion of C4 vegetation in East Africa.

  • ~1 Ma: Enhanced amplitude glacial aridity cycles and shift to 100-ky cyclicity.


  • Paranthropus widespread but goes extinct ~1.2 Ma. New species of Homo with smaller cheek teeth, larger brains, and more sophisticated tools, the extinction of others, and substantial improvements in technology. The first dispersal of Homo out of Africa into Eurasia.

  • ~1.6 Ma: Acheulean stone tool technology.

  • 790 ka: Oldest definite evidence of controlled fire.

  • 1.8 to ~1.0 Ma: African fauna indicate fairly open, grassland habitats.

0.5-0.0 Ma

  • Coldest glacial MIS-6 about time of first H. sapiens.

  • ~140-70 ka: Tropical/subtropical megadroughts.

  • Very low sea level during MIS-6 and MIS-2.


  • ~500 ka: First archaic Homo with substantially enlarged brain size.

  • H. heidelbergensis in Europe, Asia, and Africa beginning at about 400 ka. H. erectus expansion into northern latitude climates within

  • Between 200-60 ka: Evolution of Middle Stone Age innovations.

  • ~400 ka: Oldest thrusting spears known.


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