Read our COVID-19 research and news.

Earth was once a planet of the apes—and they set the stage for human evolution

More than 10 million years ago, the world was brimming with a wide variety of apes. Scientists studying the ones that are still alive today can learn a lot about human evolution—but they miss out on many clues that can only be found from the apes that went extinct. Watch to learn how fossil apes have strengthened ideas about how humans evolved, and what steps we can take to learn even more about our ancient ancestors.

*Correction, 18 May, noon: This video has been updated to identify how a major climatic shift impacted Miocene apes, and to clarify the period during the Miocene where a limited number of fossil apes has been discovered in Africa.