American Museum of Natural History has put together a truly informative animated timeline that shows 7 million years of human evolution using data from fossil sites around the continent now known as Africa. The timeline documents the earliest Homo Erectus and notes that the closest relative to humans is the Hominin, now extinct except for Homo Sapiens.
Scientists use fossils to reconstruct the evolutionary history of hominins—the group that includes modern humans, our immediate ancestors, and other extinct relatives. Today, our closest living relatives are chimpanzees, but extinct hominins are even closer. Where and when did they live? What can we learn about their lives? Why did they go extinct?