2 million years ago
Homo habilis (handy man) started walking on two legs. Freeing his hands paved they way for toolmaking, man's first evolutionary leap.
1 million years ago
Homo erectus (upright man) started using fire and to use weapons to hunt and protect himself. Freeing himself from the danger of other predators paved the way for thinking, reflection and introspection and the development of consciousness, man's second evolutionary leap.
200 thousand years ago
Homo sapiens (knowing man) started to use his knowledge to standardize his toolmaking to further his control, management and mastery of the world. Freeing himself from manual work paved the way for machines and industry, man's third evolutionary leap.
Today and the next 500 years
Homo scientia (scientific man) has just begun to use science and technology to further his control, management and mastery of the world. Scientists and specialists are working on ways to make knowledge and information instantly available and accessible to anyone, anywhere, through a global computer network, the Internet. Should that happen man would be free from having to educate himself, from having to acquire knowledge. Scientists in the field of genetic engineering and biotechnology are working on ways to create superior human beings with an immortal physical body. If they succeed man will be free from the slow pace of natural physical evolution. Scientists in the field of nanotechnology are working on ways to create intelligent living machines that take care of man's every physical need. If they succeed man will be free from the outside world. When man is free from having to acquire knowledge; from having to take care of the physical body; from having to provide food and shelter; from having to deal with the outside world he will devote time to control, manage and master his internal world, man's fourth evolutionary leap.
Todays evolutionary leaders
Specific evolutionary leaps can take hundreds, thousands and even millions of years to materialize. At any one time a specific segment of the population directs the evolutionary progress, eventually they come to dominate the population and other competing species are assimilated or die out. The segment which is currently directing man's next evolutionary leap are the growing numbers of individuals who are using technology and the scientific method to control, manage and master the world.