Monday, July 10, 2017

We didn't evolve from apes?

I'm not going to touch on arguments pro and con regarding evolution or creationism in this article. This is simply a criticism of a particular ploy used when some engage in those arguments.  It's common to hear a proponent for evolution to say the following when in a discussion with a creationist:
Humans didn't evolve from apes.  We evolved from a common ancestor with apes.
But this statement is disingenuous. The truth is that we did evolve from an early ape species which diversified over time into five great apes species and sixteen ape species, namely Bonobos, Chimpanzees, Gorillas, Orangutans, Humans and various Gibbons.  Sure, it's true we didn't evolve from Chimpanzees, but we did evolve from an ape species from which all other modern ape species also evolved.

Ape skeletons

I guess the claim of not evolving from apes came out of the desire to side step or disrupt creationists' arguments driven by their misconceptions about evolution.  If a creationist says "evolution says we evolved from apes", then it's an easy comeback to say "no it doesn't, actually."  But, in truth, yes, evolution does indeed say we evolved from an ape species, and this is backed up by modern discoveries.  There's no need dance around this by splitting hairs on what is meant by the word "ape".
  • Is a wolf a canine?  Yes.  Is a fox a canine? Yes.  Did wolves and foxes evolve from a common canine species? Yes.  Then wolves and foxes evolved from canines.
This example is just to drive the point home.  Canines and apes (all mammals, reptiles and amphibians, actually) all evolved from common tetrapod ancestor species that first lived on land about 400 million years ago. Yes, we are all tetrapods that evolved from a common tetrapod ancestor species.  In the larger scope, we evolved from tetrapods!  Just as more immediately, we evolved from apes.

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