General, Research, Technology

Did the person come from a monkey?

This is surprising, but even she offends manythe thought that man and monkey are relatives. Not with all the monkeys, of course, but we had at least a common ancestor with these amazing animals. The claim that mankind was shaped by evolution proved to be explosive. Charles Darwin discovered this when he published The Origin of Species by Natural Selection in 1871. It should be noted that at that time there was also a scientific barrier: Darwin had virtually no access to any fossil remains that could indicate how, when, or even where people evolved. But since then, much has changed, but the myths about human evolution have not disappeared. We figure out whether a person descended from a monkey and where is the very missing link that opponents of the theory of evolution love so much?

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When did the first person appear?

Over the years, places where they were discoveredhuman fossils have expanded tremendously. Of course, we still have a lot to learn, but the general picture of the evolution of Homo Sapiens has already largely developed. We know that the first evolutionary steps were taken by ancestors in Africa. We are sure that our closest living relatives are chimpanzees, and that our family tree separated from them about 7 million years ago.

However, the path of becoming our ancestors humanreasonable was long. So, almost 4 million years ago, our ancestors were still very similar to monkeys. Lucy, the famous 3.2 million-year-old human ancestor discovered in Ethiopia, had a small brain and long arms. This suggests that her species still spent a lot of time on the trees, perhaps climbing to the tops at night, as chimpanzees still do. But Australopithecus Lucy, nevertheless, had one distinguishing feature: she walked on two legs.

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Lucy - the primeval star

Australopithecus - the oldest hominids and in general a peculiarGroup. The fact is that they can be ranked simultaneously as two-legged monkeys, and to ancient people with a monkey head. They probably made simple stone tools, but if we discard these achievements, then in general they were not much different from other monkeys.

In the 40 years since it was discoveredof a partial skeleton of Lucy, fragmented remains of even more ancient fossils were found, some of which date back to 7 million years ago. The remains are similar to Australopithecus: these human ancestors walked on two legs, had the features of a chimpanzee, and they also had a smallbrain. Only with the advent of the Homo genus did hominins begin to look and behave a little more like the way we behave today. Few people now doubt that our genus came from Australopithecus, although from which species it is a moot point. It was probably Lucy Australopithecus Afarensis, but the South African species, Australopithecus Sediba, is also a candidate for this role. However, it is only known for certain that the transition occurred between 2 and 3 million years ago.

In general, the main thing to understand when it comes to evolution Homo sapiens - this process lasted a long time - millions of years, but all changes were gradual and by our standards it’s very slow.

So, about the existence of the earliest species of homo wewe know only a few fragments of bones, which makes it difficult to study them. But the first remains of a well-formed species of Homo, which we would recognize a little like us, appeared about 1.9 million years ago. His name is Homo Erectus - upright. Read even more interesting articles about primitive people on our channel in Yandex.Zen

Homo erectus: what do we know?

Homo erectus was a bit likeearlier hominids. He completely descended from the trees and shared our passion for travel: all the earlier remains of hominids were found only in Africa, but Homo erectus fossils were found in Europe and Asia.

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Homo Erectus was an innovator. He produced much more complex tools than any of his predecessors, and was probably the first to learn how to handle fire. Some researchers believe that it was Homo Erectus who invented cooking, thereby improving the quality of their diet. Moreover, improved nutrition led to an excess of energy, which allowed a larger brain to develop. And scientists know this for sure: the brain size of Homo Erectus has grown dramatically over the 1.5 million years of this species.

Homo erectus looked like this

But no matter how successful Homo Erectus is, it’s allbut some key human features were missing: so, according to the anatomy of this species, Homo erectus could not talk. The next hominid that appeared was Homo Heidelbergensis, a Heidelberg man, a descendant of the Homo erectus population in Africa, who lived about 600,000 years ago. The hyoid bone of this species is a small bone that plays an important role in our vocal apparatus, which is almost indistinguishable from ours.

Some experts believe that it is HomoHeidelbergensis gave rise to the species Homo sapiens about 200,000 years ago in Africa. Individual populations of Homo Heidelbergensis, who lived in Eurasia, also evolved into Neanderthals in the West and still a little-studied group called Homo Denisovan - Denisovans in the East.

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Who is Homo Sapiens

Homo sapiens evolution continues to this day

The very last chapter in the history of our speciesunfolded over the past 100,000 years or so. Modern people have spread throughout the world, and Neanderthals and Denisovans have disappeared. However, why they died out is another mystery, but it is possible that we ourselves played a role in this. However, the interaction between the species was not completely hostile: DNA analysis shows that modern people sometimes crossed with both Neanderthals and Denisovans. Read more about the fact that we underestimated the Neanderthals in the article by my colleague Daria Yeletskaya.

Homo sapiens - a reasonable person

Of course, we still do not know much and do notWe can answer absolutely all questions about human evolution. The most obvious reason is the regular discovery of new fossil remains, some of which alter the previously obtained scientific picture. So, over the past ten years, three new extinct species have been discovered, including Homo Naledi, also found in South Africa. The strangest of all is the tiny “hobbit” Homo Floresiensis, who lived in Indonesia about 12,000 years ago and was apparently a separate species. It turns out that for almost 7 million years our species shared the planet with other ancient people.