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Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey - how to evolve

Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey puts your survival skills to the test from the word go as you face constant predators, unforgiving landscapes and questionable food choices on your evolutionary quest.

There is little in the way of direction other than a HUD that shows you icons resembling food, tools and predators, so it's up to you to forge a path ahead and develop the skills necessary to keep your lineage going.

Though you may fail the first few times due to some mistimed jumps and endless lion attacks, you can guarantee that you'll get better each time you start over. To give you a head start, we've created this handy guide with our top tips and tricks for getting through the first few hours.

Keep in mind that once you've completed the prologue, almost all of the below actions can be done in your first settlement, where you start the game. We recommend doing as much as possible here while you're safe from predators or accidentally falling from trees. You'll learn a lot and evolve much quicker.

Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey - tips for evolution

For most actions, you're listening out for a "ding" noise that indicates success. The fail noise sounds more like drums going down in tone, so repeat the action if you can. If you're playing with a minimal hud, listening out for these noises is crucial.


In place of a skills tree, your avatar will develop Neurons that you can choose to develop as you explore and interact with the world around you. They are split into four main types: Intelligence, Senses, Motricity and Communication.

It's important to develop all four to create a well-rounded individual, but focusing on the likes of movement and enhancing your senses pays off in the first hour or so. Staying close to babies or carrying on or two with you at all times fills your Neurons faster, which helps you progress quite quickly.


You can begin your game as either a male or female avatar, but you can switch between each clan mate. If you analyse another clan mate you can see their age, sex and whether or not they're fertile in the case of female clanmates. You can bond with a clanmate by grooming them. Hold in the groom key and listen out for a dig noise that lets you know it's working. If you let go and they shrug you off, try again and hold it in for longer.

Once you've bounded with a clanmate and form a couple, you can mate with them. Birth happens almost instantaneously and skips you 15 months ahead. Similarly, as long as there is one adult and one baby in your clan's settlement, you can reinforce certain behaviours and skip a generation by 15 years.

Any non-reinforced behaviours will be lost, but it means that if you've spent a long time building up your clan's dexterity, you can take it into the next generation and focus on something else.

You can also accept outsiders into your clan, which helps diversify your gene pool a bit.

If all the adults die, you'll resume life as one of the babies. You can identify the settlement and hiding spots nearby, and quite often an adult will spawn near the baby to help move things along. Stand up and scan everything around you, have your baby shout out and listen for an adult shouting back.


There are three ways to identify objects in Ancestors using your Intelligence: visual focus, olfactory senses and hearing.

Once you've identified something, focus on it and memorise it. Develop the Neurons that lead to a superior recall of forms and smells to help your avatar feel calm in their surroundings, find food and water quicker and, most importantly, remember who the predators are.

Standing when using Intelligence helps you identify a wider radius and your avatar will take a few upright steps once you're finished, which will help towards Motricity neurons.

With the likes of food, it's a good idea to memorise both the look and smell of things, and with predators, you'll want to memorise how they sound, too.

When you enter an unknown area, the screen will darken and your avatar will become stressed. Use your Intelligence to identify things around you until the Resolve circle is filled. You're then looking for a ball of light, where you'll be prompted to overcome your fear of the unknown.

By doing this, you'll expand your territory and find even more food sources, predators and tools. It's important to scan everything and commit it to memory, as well as unlock Neurons that help you identify clusters of the same object for easiness.

Food and medicine

The most common food you'll find will be plants and fruits in the first section of Ancestors, and these can be easily identified using sight. There are some foods, however, like mangoes and bird's eggs, that can only be identified using your sense of smell, and even then you'll need to be in a tree to spot them.

You can use sharpened sticks to poke holes in the ground to catch snails and scorpions, go fishing and lift rocks to find mushrooms along the jungle floor. Eating something for the first time can upset your stomach, and eating too much can do the same thing. As in real life, eat little and often to get used to new foods.

Some foods, like snails, offer poison protection, whereas the spiny plant you find at your first came can break your bones if you eat too much of it later on. Eating too many berries can poison you, too, though eating a coconut goes a little way to quench your thirst.

You can also eat meat from predators, though you'll need a rock to butcher them. Whether you kill them yourself or let bigger prey do the heavy lifting, you can ingest meat from crocs, otters, warthogs and lions.

If you find yourself bleeding out, there is a fibrous plant you can use to rub on yourself that will cure that ailment. Sleeping off broken bones heals them faster, but will impede on your avatar's life expectancy.

If you are constantly getting injured from prey or accidentally missing a branch and fall too far, your avatar's life will be considerably shorter than those who have stayed at the settlement. Being the king of the swingers is no easy task, and if you fall too far from a tree or waterfall, you will die.

Tools and weapons

You can pick up sticks and rocks as your traverse the jungle and it's a good idea to touch everything you can. Early on, it would be wise to level up your dexterity to allow you to carry items and switch hands, which will let you alter things. You can pull the branches off a dead stick then use a rock to sharpen it into a weapon and fishing tool, for instance.

You can also develop your communication to order your clanmates to mimic your actions, so they can sharpen their own sticks. In the meantime, you can hand them rocks and sticks that they'll use to defend themselves with should you be attacked. Carrying tools will also increase the chance of successfully intimidating a predator, so equip yourself early on.


Eventually, a snake or warthog is going to decide you look like a challenge or a tasty snack and you'll be engaged in combat. You need to hold in A/ space bar until you hear the familiar ding noise then release to perform a dodge. If your avatar is holding a tool, hold it until their arm raises above their head then release to perform an attack.

Sharp sticks and grinder rocks are the best early weapons to defend yourself with and have a higher chance of killing enemies over their non-altered counterparts, and you can use the rock to butcher a carcass for food. You can also take larger animal bones as weapons, but you can mutilate the cadaver of your own species.

If you're still struggling with evolution, check out our Ancestors' guides on gathering food, how to create and use tools and how to master the combat system.

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About the Author

Lauren Aitken