While we are not entirely sure when our own species arose – possibly as early as 400,000 years ago, our ancestral “mitochondrial Eve” may have lived around 200,00-150,000 years ago in the Kalahari desert, or even that several original ‘homelands’ existed in our early past.
Similar to H. heidelbergensis, early Homo sapiens had sophisticated cognitive skills, such as planning, thinking and acting. Also, we started to geographically spread early on. For instance, there is evidence we were present in West Asia as early as 270,000.
Early humans also had larger fore-brains – steeper foreheads than our predecessors with strongly sloped backward heads.
But while earlier humans were certainly more cognitively sophisticated than their predecessors, behavioural modernity didn’t appear until around 60,000 to 40,000 years ago.