The topic I chose to write on is human evolution. For some reason this sparks the biggest debate between believers and non believers, I remember one time in high school my biology teacher told the class, “I don’t care what you believe, evolution is real. Why would you want to believe that some man in the sky just dropped you all here, it makes no sense.” From then on I looked into what I knew front the Bible versus what I was learning in school and decided that I can believe in evolution and also believe that we have a creator of many things. When we think of Human Evolution there is always a debate on wether or not we believe in evolution itself. Do you? In general human evolution is the result of natural selection acting upon whole populations over many generations. The change by which people originated from ape like ancestors, so I’ve been taught. After doing some research I found some interesting facts about human evolution and how it has become. Scientific evidence shows that the physical and behavioral traits shared by most humans originated from those of ape like descent and evolved over a period of approximately seven million years ago. In this paper I’ll be discussing why we think evolution happened, how evolution works, some of the milestones in human evolution as well as why does human evolution matter and is there a possibility of finding the missing link between us and apes, if there is one.
To really dig into human evolution, I feel we should actually know what humans are and the category they fall into. Humans are known to be primates, the physical and genetic similarities between the two show that the now human species (Homo Sapiens) had a very close relationship to another group of primate species, the apes. We share nearly 99 percent of our genetic sequence with chimpanzees and bonobos along with thousands of fossils documenting that there are progressively more human-like species in the evolution lineage.
Evolution works strangely but not strange enough that I can’t explain it. The thing with evolution is that the DNA that makes up our genes and those of every organism on Earth is that they are subject to random mutations. Every now and then one of those mutations affects an important trait that can affect an animal’s coat color or a particular behavior. In most cases with selective breeding animals are given the traits that the breeders want but in nature the selection is done by the environment in which the animal is in as well as the opposite sex. For instance if an animal is born with a coat color that offers more protection from predators then it could survive longer and produce more offspring. If this is more appealing to mates then it could also lead to greater reproductive success. This is what is known as survival of the fittest. Over time, such favorable mutations spread throughout a population and changes how it looks. Then over a enough time, the process can maybe even create a new species.
Some of the earliest cases of our lineage were Australopithecus Afarensis, which is the most famous in the Lucy species. Lucy herself was dated to 3.2 million years ago, the oldest known fossil that attributed to our genes, Homo, which dates back to about 2.8 million years ago. Like Australopithecines, early Homo species, walked on two legs. Considerable debate over when our ancestors first harvested fire and built stone tools. According to one theory made over the years was that the invention of cooking allowed us to gain more energy from meat, which fueled the dramatic evolution of the human brain. It was thought that bigger brains and dexterous hands led to the growth and development of complex language, art and agriculture which emerged in the past 100,000.
Human evolution has been shown that both genetic and fossil evidence pop up in Africa. I figured knowing where our species evolved will give us a clear idea on how the environment shaped the genetic makeup we still carry with us today. Especially since where we came form is essentially the first chapter in a long story on how we got here versus where we are now. Roughly around 60,000 years ago modern humans migrated from out of Africa, genetic evidence shows that after leaving they began to interbreed to some extent with the Netherlands and a unknown population in Asia called the Denisovans. Homo sapiens are the only species on Earth now but that has only been for roughly 30,000 years.
Given everything I researched and learned is there possibly a missing link between humans and apes. Personally I think not only because both lineages descended from common ancestors BUT went their separate ways. I guess the real question would be who was the last common ancestor that linked the humans and the apes.
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