Human Origins Essay

Human Origins Essay-35
Her bones eventually eroded out of ancient channel deposits and her discoverers nicknamed her "Lucy." The completeness and quality of her skeleton has provided considerable insight into early hominids.On the family tree, Lucy's species is one of many now bridging the gap between modern people and the last common ancestor that we shared with the living African apes. Darwin, as a historical scientist, employed what he knew about the modern world to predict what might have been found in the world of the past.

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Neanderthals were interpreted by some as pathological, whereas others saw them as an evolutionary side branch, and yet others as direct human ancestors.

The Neanderthal debate persisted for nearly 150 years, and was only recently resolved by a powerful combination of well-dated African fossils and comparisons of ancient Neanderthal DNA with DNA of modern humans.

The average Neanderthal brain was slightly larger than that of modern humans, but this is probably correlated with larger body size in general. Indeed, Neanderthals lived mostly in cold climates.

neanderthalensis had a protruding jaw, receding forehead, and weak chin.

The evidence of Lucy and the many other fossils of the species that she represents shows that these creatures were neither chimps nor humans, nor were they halfway between modern chimpanzee and human, but rather had their own unique characteristics.

This uniqueness is confirmed by evidence of the archaeological record as well as geochronology.Darwin got it mostly right By Tim White The 1859 book “On the Origin of Species” is notorious for Darwin's evasion of the subject of human evolution.In it, he wrote only: "much light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history." However, Darwin more directly discussed the subject of human evolution in his 1871 treatise, “The Descent of Man” In that book, he clearly laid out a prediction that human ancestors would be found in Africa.Accompanying some of these tools were human-like fossils that took their name from Neanderthal, the German site where they were first discovered.The “Neanderthal Men” associated with the site became one of the earliest challenges to Darwin’s view of human evolution.Of course, at the time, there was virtually no known fossil record, so Darwin could only predict that someday, some "future geologist" would find fossils connecting modern apes with modern humans via an ancient undiscovered common ancestor.These predictions proved to be remarkably accurate.At first there was considerable controversy over these remains.Today, however, we recognize several species that all belong within , and she died 3.2 million years ago.Based on what was known at the time about living apes and humans, Darwin 'triangulated' that our earliest hominid ancestors were the result of feedback between bipedality, freedom of the hands, reduction of the canine tooth and face, expansion of the brain, and the increasing use of tools.In other words, he postulated simple, straight-line, human evolution.


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