Human Origins Essay

Human Origins Essay-20
—— Please see the Resources section for the Bibliography/Additional Reading list for this essay.Aeon email newsletters are issued by the not-for-profit, registered charity Aeon Media Group Ltd (Australian Business Number 80 612 076 614).Based on what was known at the time about living apes and humans, Darwin 'triangulated' that our earliest hominid ancestors were the result of feedback between bipedality, freedom of the hands, reduction of the canine tooth and face, expansion of the brain, and the increasing use of tools.

—— Please see the Resources section for the Bibliography/Additional Reading list for this essay.Aeon email newsletters are issued by the not-for-profit, registered charity Aeon Media Group Ltd (Australian Business Number 80 612 076 614).Based on what was known at the time about living apes and humans, Darwin 'triangulated' that our earliest hominid ancestors were the result of feedback between bipedality, freedom of the hands, reduction of the canine tooth and face, expansion of the brain, and the increasing use of tools.

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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.

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.

—— 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.

However the recovery of well-preserved fossils in a well-calibrated, dated geological sequence largely have proved Darwin’s original hypothesis about an African birthplace.

These early human-like fossils first were discovered in the 1920s, in Africa, as Darwin predicted.

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