A history of human evolution in biology

Gross, for Undark Magazine smithsonian. Here, an early human fossil found in Broken Hill, Zambia.

A history of human evolution in biology

Phylogeny Video transcript If we were to rewind the clock back about 70 million years, you would see dinosaurs roaming the Earth. And this is a very nice picture here of a dinosaur enjoying a sunset at the beach. But unfortunately for the dinosaurs, about 65 million years ago, we believe that a huge meteorite struck the earth and essentially wiped out the dinosaurs.

And it probably wiped out a bunch of other species with it. Because you can imagine, the shock wave itself would just exterminate tons of species. Then you would have the tsunami of unimaginable size that would just envelop the continents for some period of time. And then you would have all of the soot that would go into the air and maybe make it impossible for most of the plant species to live, because it would be blocking out all of the sunlight.

And so in an environment like that, we could imagine that an animal like this would be well suited to survive.

History of evolutionary thought - Wikipedia

It's sitting there underground. Maybe it can hibernate in some way, so it doesn't need food for long periods of time. Maybe it has its own food stash under there someplace.

A history of human evolution in biology

And so we believe that our ancient, ancient, ancient, ancient, ancient ancestors, after this mass extinction event, might have been something like this-- kind of a mole-looking, rodent animal that was protected from all of this craziness that was happening on the surface, because they like to hang out underground and have all their food nearby them.

And maybe they could hibernate in some way. So you could imagine, once everything settled down-- and now we're talking, who knows, hundreds of years, thousands of years, even millions of years-- some of this guy's descendants start to poke their head out of the ground.

History of the Theory of Evolution

And they're like, you know what? There's food in trees. And there's no one else in the trees.

A history of human evolution in biology

And trees are a good place to maybe get away from some of the other predators that have managed to survive this mass extinction event. And some of its descendants, I should say, that were good at climbing trees decide, hey, let's try this tree thing out. And so you started to have some selection for the descendants of this rodent that could climb trees well.

They were able to find food where their ancestors couldn't. They could find protection in the trees where their ancestors couldn't.

Human Evolution by The Smithsonian Institution's Human Origins Program

And so you could imagine that some subset of this guy's descendants evolved into something that might have looked like this guy. And all the pictures I'm showing you, these are of modern animals, except for, of course, the dinosaur.

I'm sure this was kind of Photoshopped in some way. This is a modern bush baby. But I show this picture because it could have been what some of these primitive primates looked like. Because a bush baby, it kind of a climbs trees.

It kind of looks like it's starting to get a hand here to start climbing the trees. But it also has rodent-like qualities. But this is, of course, a modern version of it.Charles Darwin was aware of the severe reaction in some parts of the scientific community against the suggestion made in Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation that humans had arisen from animals by a process of transmutation.

Therefore, he almost completely ignored the topic of human evolution in On the Origin of Species. Despite this precaution, the issue featured prominently in the debate that followed . Human evolution is the evolutionary process that led to the emergence of anatomically modern humans, beginning with the evolutionary history of primates – in particular genus Homo – and leading to the emergence of Homo sapiens as a distinct species of the hominid family, the great apes.

The course begins with Darwin’s observations of patterns in nature, examines cutting-edge molecular and phylogenetic techniques that determine an organism’s place on the Tree of Life, and concludes with a look at the practical implications of evolution on human health, agriculture and conservation.

Human evolution is the part of biological evolution concerning the emergence of humans as a distinct species. It is the subject of a broad scientific inquiry that seeks to understand and describe.

Human Biology, Ecology, and Evolution The Human Biology, Ecology and Evolution Program is interested in the relationships between culture, behavior, and environment and their impacts on health and well-being.

The timeline of human evolution outlines the major events in the development of the human species, paleontology, developmental biology, morphology, and from anatomical and genetic data. It does not address the origin of life. That discussion is provided by abiogenesis, Berkeley Evolution; History of Animal Evolution;.

Human evolution overview (video) | Evolution | Khan Academy