Hominin skull evolution, animation. The sequence starts with Australopithecus afarensis (3.9-2.9 million years ago), followed by Australopithecus boisei (also known as Paranthropus boisei), which lived 2.3-1.2 million years ago. Homo erectus lived from 2 million to around 500, 000 years ago. Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) lived from around 400, 000 to around 40, 000 years ago. Finally, modern humans (Homo sapiens) emerged around 350, 000 years ago. The general evolutionary trend was for an increase in brain size, leading to the changes in the skulls shown here.