Human Origins Essay

Human Origins Essay-78
Neanderthals were interpreted by some as pathological, whereas others saw them as an evolutionary side branch, and yet others as direct human ancestors.

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.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.

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Evidence now indicates these near-humans were a circum-Mediterranean side branch that went extinct about 30,000 years ago and did not give rise to modern humans.

Neanderthals show that the path to modern humans was not the simple, straight-line predicted by Darwin, since they existed too recently to bear on Darwin’s predictions about what our much earlier progenitors were like, or where they lived.

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.

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Human Origins Essay

This Email Newsletter Privacy Statement may change from time to time and was last revised 5 June, 2018.Darwin's core insight lets us understand how evolution works and is now the bedrock of biology.It is also the very basis for understanding how we got here.The molecular evidence also confirms this in the living endpoints of two very different evolutionary trajectories.Although Darwin’s hypothesis on the location of the evolution of man has proven correct, Darwin's hypothesis about the sequence in which human characteristics arose during our evolution has been rejected.In the 138 years that followed, however, evidence showed this model was too simplistic as the fossil record revealed a more complicated path to modern humans.Prehistoric stone tools were found across Europe long before Darwin and his contemporary British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace explained evolution via the mechanism of natural selection.It seems likely that Darwin would have been delighted to witness the arrival and interpretation of that new evidence.The approach that he brought us—how to be curious, critical and creative scientists—has indeed seen evolutionary biology through the last 150 years very nicely.—— Tim White is a world renowned paleoanthropologist and professor of Integrative Biology at the University of California at Berkeley.His work frequently takes him to study sites in Afar, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania (at Olduvai Gorge and Laetoli) and Turkey.


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