Homo Habilis lived about 2.3 to 1.65 million BCE. They had larger brains than predecessors and used stone tools as well as used and controlled fire. They were likely the first hominids to explore most of the Earth. We know these hominids evolved into at least 20 known species of which only Homo Sapiens survive today.
Some of our extinct distant cousins but NOT* our ancestors:
- Homo antecessor: 1.2 million to 800,000 BCE (Spain; maybe England and France)
- Homo erectus**: 2 million to 108,000 BCE (Eurasia)
- Homo floresiensis: 60,000 to 50,000 BCE (Indonesian island of Flores)
- Homo luzonensis: 67,000 to 50,000 BCE (Philippines)
- Homo naledi: 335,000 to 236,000 BCE (Africa, along side our direct ancestors)
Our distant cousins exhibited some human traits including cave dwelling, controlled fire, team hunting, and butchering of prey with tools. The surviving tools found are made of stone and bone but it is very likely they used other less durable types of materials like wood, vines, feathers, sticks, etc. For example, the hand axe dates back to before 2 million BCE. All this evidence indicates these human traits likely evolved before 2 million BCE.
*No valid evidence, and not currently thought to be an ancestor.
**There is a debatable hypothesis that homo erectus explored the world, returned to Africa, and those that returned evolved into homo ergaster and are our direct line ancestors.