Over many decades, the evolution of human beings has been a subject of research and discussion among many scholars, scientists, and anthropologists. However, there is no single answer that addresses the questions surrounding evolution as new discoveries are made every other time. This paper will review the learning outcomes of the previous units by looking at what was striking the most and how adds value to my understanding of human evolution.
The most striking thing in chapter four is the fact that human beings are related to gorillas and chimpanzees but not their descendants. Most interesting is the fact that chimps and humans share 98.4% of the DNA. Also, the number of primate species is very significant. Despite the fact that the number is estimated to be between 250 and 300, only six of the species are apes while humans have only one species. Monkeys comprise the largest group of species. Therefore, studying primates does not only help us understand the evolutionary lineage of human beings but also the behavioral traits that accompanied the primates in the evolutionary process.
Africa is considered the cradle of mankind. This means that apes evolved first in Africa before their continuation in Europe and Asia. It is also interesting to learn that evolution can be dated back to as many years as 22 million years ago. The Proconsul was the first apes to be discovered in Africa while Sivapithecus appeared first in Europe. It is worthy to note that not all apes evolved in the present day but some became extinct in the later Miocene. The few that survived gave rise to the current apes and humans, with monkeys undergoing substantial adaptive radiation hence forming a basis for the evolutionary characteristics of the modern species.
Also, experts have different views of the world. There are those who view the world as a single entity while there are those who hold on to the notion of the double existence of the word. The varied views imply different philosophies of knowledge about the world and how human beings came into existence. Conflicts are bound to arise given that religion believes in one supernatural being who is responsible for the creation of mankind. On the other hand, scientists do not acknowledge this idea as they believe in the evolution of human beings from primitive forms to modern beings. The conclusion formed by the scientists is based on tangible evidence and scientific research.
In summary, the existence of modern human beings triggers more inquiries and the need for more knowledge about the process of evolution. Different philosophies have emerged with each philosopher trying to give a justification for their view on human life. As far as early anthropologists like Mary Leaky and Charles Darwin believed that modern man was once an ape, it is important to note that the size of the brain or rather the level of intelligence was not the only trait that distinguished humans from apes. Other distinguishing characteristics emerged with time, thus generating other questions as to whether evolution is an endless process.
- Parker, S. T., & Jaffe, K. E. (2008). Darwin’s legacy: Scenarios in human evolution. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press.
- Susan G., and Francis E., (2014). Early Pliocene Bipedal Apes. Online lecture.
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