By Natural Philosopher Mike Prestwood

How many humans walked the Earth in 300,000 BCE?

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By Mike Prestwood. As the Bangles would put it, we’re born to “roam around the world.”

Likely over 2 million humans roamed Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia in 300,000 BCE. Traditionally anthropologists focus on Homo sapiens, one of the many known human species, and estimate the population from a low of 10,000 to a high of 300,000, but the way we look at ancient humans is evolving. It’s true that the population of our sapien ancestors was mostly limited to Africa during this era and these numbers reflect that.

This pivotal moment in prehistory marks the emergence of Homo sapiens, yet they were just one of many players on the ancient stage. The population of Homo sapiens in Africa during this era was likely in the hundreds of thousands, while other ancient humans contributed to the broader estimate of over 2 million. It has become pretty clear, the broader success of the tapestry of various ancient humans across the globe was flourishing more than ever. These various species, all in the genus Homo, go back at least 2 million years to Homo habilis and their descendant species. 

Unlike other non “Homo” hominid species, like chimpanzees and apes, which are generally limited to their native environments, ancient humans evolved a “pioneering spirit.” While humans need clothes to survive in many places, what truly sets us apart is this adaptability, our “pioneering spirit.” Our knack for venturing well beyond our native turf is unmatched. We’ve been rocking this trait since the days of Homo habilis, about 2.3 million years ago. As the Bangles would put it, we’re born to “roam around the world.” To learn more about why our older views are attracting scrutiny, take the deep dive: Hominin Population Census: A Speculative Journey to 700,000 and 300,000 BCE.

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