Human Evolution

Figure 1.--DNA evidence suggests that the genetic variation between chimpanzees anf humans is only about 2 percent. Most scientists and the public were astonished that such a small variation can create such great diffeences.

The widely accepted modern theory concerning the origins of man postulate that humans as well as other advanced species are the result of a long line of evolution begining with life in the ancient seas. We can see that the basic template of early animals can be found in modern animals such as right and left sides that are roughly similar, spinalcords, four aprndages, binocular vision, and other similarities. The most famous proponent of evolutionary theory is Charles Darwin (1809-82) who authored The Origin of Species (1859) describing the theory of evolution which operated through selection of species. His work was based largely on observations which he made during his 5-year voyage around the world aboard the HMS Beagle (1831-36). It was a theory that revolutionized man's outlook and biological science. Darwin was aware that the basic theory was unsettling enough. Thus he focused on finches, tortoises, and other non-controversial species and avoided addressing apes and humans in any detail. The religious community understood instantly, however, just where Darwin's evolutionary theories led. Humans and modern apes (orangutans, gorillas, and chimpanzees) are highly similar which suggests a common ape-like ancestor. Modern DNA work shows that they are even more similar genetically than generally believed. Humans diverfed from oranatangs (about 15 million years ago) and gorillas (about 10 million years ago). The final break with our most closely related ape ancestprs (chimpanzees) came about 6 million years ago. Many scientists were generally astounded when DNA research has found how little modern man differs genetically from chimpanzees. Humans through a combination of environmental and genetic factors, emerged as a species with an unparalled capacity to create and use tools to both utilize resources as well as to modify the envitonment. This began about 2 million years ago with the stone age. This meant that early homonoids for some 4 millio years was just another ape-like species. Despite the intensity of the debate which has not yet ended, mankind's origin has generally been explained from Darwin's evolutionary perspective. Darwin made some mistakes, but the basic outline ofn his monumental work remains unshaken and is part of the foundation for for modern biolgical science. Evolution like other major theoretical processes continued to be studied and modified as new findings are repoted, revisions to the theory are accepted, and earlier concepts disproven are discarded.


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Created: 9:56 AM 1/4/2013
Last updated: 9:56 AM 1/4/2013