Early human migrations began when Homo erectus first migrated out of Africa over the Levantine corridor and Horn of Africa to Eurasia about 1.8 million years ago, a migration probably sparked by the development of language. The expansion of H. erectus out of Africa was followed by that of Homo antecessor into Europe around 800,000 years ago, followed by Homo heidelbergensis around 600,000 years ago, where they probably evolved to become the Neanderthals..
Modern humans, Homo sapiens, evolved in Africa up to 200,000 years ago and reached the Near East around 70 millennia ago. From the Near East, these populations spread east to South Asia by 50 millennia ago, and on to Australia by 40 millennia ago, when for the first time H. sapiens reached territory never reached by H. erectus. Europe was reached by H. sapiens around 40 millennia ago, replacing the Neanderthal population. East Asia was reached by 30 millennia ago.
The date of migration to North America is disputed; it may have taken place around 30 millennia ago, or only considerably later, around 14 millennia ago. The Pacific islands of Polynesia began to be colonized around 1300 BC, and completely colonized by around 900 AD. The ancestors of Polynesians left Taiwan around 5200 years ago.