Saturday, June 11, 2005

Something about evolution just occurred to me...

In popular science, human evolution is often described in terms of when our ancestors headed off into our own branch of the great ape family tree. Something just occurred to me. What if, in our development, all the other great apes diverged from our branch? That is, in the course of our evolution, we left behind the ancestors of the Chimps, Gorillas, etc.

This is certainly a human-centric view of evolution. However, it must be admitted that things happened to our ancestors which didn't happen to the ancestors of any other of the great apes.

  • We have much better buoyancy, allowing us to swim. 
  • We walk upright. 
  • We have more complex brains. 
  • We have less prominent body hair. 
  • We have a protruding nose. 
  • We have much less muscle mass, etc.
Our environment changed, forcing these adaptations. Those groups of our ancestral species which were in far off locations didn't experience the need to adapt. Gorilla line broke off, moving into a panda/sloth-like direction, having never adapted to meat eating. Chimp line broke off much later, having never needed to walk upright. Neanderthal and the other extinct humans species broke off even later.

In a New Age sense, I might ask, what if we are the intended form? What if all the other species on this planet are just off-shoots of our ancestral line? I'm not sure about taking this line of reasoning seriously, but I'm putting it out there for others to think about with me.

We may not be able to apply this reasoning to all of Earth's history, but maybe it can be applied to the primate line. Even further, this doesn't justify viewing one species as inferior to us. Nor does it justify viewing different races of our own species as inferior. In this line of reasoning, I would hold that all humans represent the intended form. In fact, given our lack of genetic diversity, maybe we are missing a few races which we sorely need to keep our species genetically healthy into our long future. I would also say, this line of reasoning demands that all species on this planet are our cousins, brothers and sisters, whether Great Ape, monkey, lizard, fish, fungus, plant, or sponge.

10 comments:

Mickey Glitter said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mickey Glitter said...

Human-centric. Stupendous!

Does being politically correct extend to the animal kingdom, as well? Will we see quotas in zoos one day?

(I deleted my first comment because I forgot something...to have it make sense.)

Anonymous said...

Didn't you know we all are from space. Duh ...notme

FCSuper said...

I've actually seen people seriously propose an extraterristrial origin for our species, like on Battlestar Galactica. Battlestar Galatica never really addresses the fact that human are so similar to other primates that there really isn't much of a change of us coming from another world unless the Great Apes descended from humans before humans arrived. Now, how would that work? lol

Anonymous said...

I think apes were isolated humans who inbred for a very long period of time. There, I said it.

Anonymous said...

It seems that all mankind would be extremely inbred since we've all come from the same family tree or at least our future generations will be due to every family intermarrying amongst each other until we're all to closely related anyway. Just a thought...

FCSuper said...

LOL Apes decended from humans? Anyways, there's a pretty clear progression between Lemars, Monkeys and Great Apes. Extraterrestial orgins for humanity these days are limited to the idea that Aliens mingled their DNA with Great Apes, but this too is nonsensical since the DNA would be very different even in that event. Also, gaps in early human history are disappearing each year, leaving less and less doubt as to our very Earthly and Apely origins. :)

Anonymous said...

Scientist stipulate that we aren't descendants of neanderthals (ape-like beings) and that they are from a different branch of the same tree as us; but that we "are" descendants of the cromagnons who also appear ape-like. Yet there is no link between cromagnons and Idaltu (oldest human fossil from east Africa)who, by the way,looks pretty normal. Now here's the catch. In Europe Africoid pygmies were found buried several feet below buried cromagnons. They are known as Grimaldi Men. They look pretty modern although they are short in stature. They are obviously older than the cromagnon. So why is the cromagnon so ugly? It's because he's inbred just as the neanderthals were. One more thing to take into consideration: while the neanderthals lived in European caves the Africans along the Nile were building cities... This is a "very" well known fact.

FCSuper said...

To clarify a couple of points in the previous posting:
1. Modern humans did descend from a common ancient as Neanderthals, which falls in line with my original blog entry. They went one way, our ancestors went another. Also, they are not ape-like. They are human, just not Homo Sapien Sapien.
2. Cromagnon's are usually considered to be the first Homo Sapiens. They did look like modern humans, with maybe slightly exaggerated facial features (will within the variety of people we see today).
3. On the topic of Grimaldi Men and the other references: I've never run across creditable references to these in the context that was suggested.

Anonymous said...

Your first two points do fall in line with the prior post (common ancestor but different branches and cromagnon being closest to being fully human but with small facial and cranial differences). I think the reference to them having an ape-like appearance is just an opinion but the fact remains that they do appear unusual. Now, the last point you made is all on you...