‘In the beginning—African origins and global movements’ outlines the history of human ancestors, who split off from the other great apes in the late Miocene (c.7 mya (million years ago)). The most accepted direct ancestors to modern humans are the Australopethicines, appearing c.4 mya. From c.2.4 mya, the first members of the early Homo genus appear in east Africa. The first hominin to leave Africa was probably Homo erectus c.1.8 mya. It is thought today’s world population descends from a common ancestral group in Africa, spreading just under 100,000 years ago into the Middle East and then Europe, Asia, and beyond. Tool and fire use is also discussed.