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What is a good approximation for how long humankind has been on Earth (as homo sapiens), according to Hinduism/Vedic scripture? I have read some texts on how we came to be, but have not encountered any clues as to how long we have been here, in this current form.

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    From the time immemorial I believe. Because, according to scriptures, the evolution of life did not start from a micro organism to Macro organism. But the first organisms were celestial class, humans. Birds, animals, insects etc., were later created. – Sarvabhouma Jul 14 '17 at 4:15
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    the scriptures speak of several 'likely stories'. you can pick the one that fits your mind the best. – Swami Vishwananda Jul 14 '17 at 4:58
  • Vedas can also be interpreted in many ways, so you can pick the interpretation that fits your mind the best. – ram Jul 15 '17 at 7:57
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A part of the universe consisting of 3 lokas (which includes earth, sun, solar system) gets destroyed and created every 4.32 billion years in a cyclical fashion for all eternity (past and future).

Brahma creates Manu (through mental energy or manasa srishti), and from Manu comes Manushya or man. In this 4.32 billion years, which equals one day of Brahma, 14 Manus come and go, each ruling for 71 cyclical ChaturYugas, where each ChaturYuga is 4.32 million years, which again is split into 4 Yugas of decreasing duration in quantity of 4 (Satya),3(Treta),2(Dvapara),1(Kali), where 1 unit kali yuga = 4,32,000 years.

We are currently 5000 years into Kali Yuga of the 28th ChaturYuga of day 1 of a 50 year old Brahma.

The lifespan and height and strength of humans gets reduced along with the progression of the 4 Yugas. In Treta Yuga, humans were generally ~8 ft tall. In Kali Yuga, they are generally 6ft tall. At the end of Kali, they will be like dwarves. And when Satya Yuga starts again 400K years from now, they will be modern-day giants again.

To answer your question rhetorically, there have always been, and always will be, humans on earth.

In their current form (say average height), about 5000 years.

http://veda.wikidot.com/vedic-time-system

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    the yugas, etc. that you refer to are spoken of in the Puranas. There is no mention of them in the vedas. – Swami Vishwananda Jul 14 '17 at 4:59
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    @SwamiVishwananda, we have lost a lot of Veda Shakas, so you don't know for sure that they're not in 'Vedas'. Also, question asks for Hindu scripture, not only Vedic – ram Jul 15 '17 at 7:56
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    we can speculate forever on what might be in the lost vedas. We can only say with certainty what is in the ones we have. – Swami Vishwananda Jul 20 '17 at 9:30
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    @SwamiVishwananda, most people interpret 'Not in Vedas' as 'Not in all of Vedas, which is the ultimate authority'.. they don't interpret it as 'Not in Vedas that we know of, most of the rest are lost'. Since this site is meant mostly for casual learners of Hinduism, adding the disclaimer 'that we know of' whenever Vedas are mentioned, makes more sense than leaving it out. – ram Jul 20 '17 at 19:29

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