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Chapter 2 Human Evolution. What is Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection and how well accepted is it? What characteristics do humans have in common with our nearest nonhuman relatives and where do these characteristics come from?

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chapter 2 human evolution
Chapter 2 Human Evolution
  • What is Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection and how well accepted is it?
  • What characteristics do humans have in common with our nearest nonhuman relatives and where do these characteristics come from?
  • Do complex social lives and the use of tools distinguish humans from the members of all other species?
  • Who were our ancestors and how did they live?
  • How are modern day humans different from our earlier ancestors?
  • If all human beings are members of a single species, why do we look so different from one another?
theory of natural selection
Theory of Natural Selection
  • Theory formulated by Charles Darwin.
  • Changes in living organisms occur over time as a result of reproduction.
  • The scientific explanation of the variety and history of life on earth.
  • No two living things, even those of the same species, are alike.
  • Sources of variation:
    • Mutation
    • Sexual reproduction
    • Genetic drift
  • Most creatures did not survive long enough to have offspring.
  • Creatures who won the struggle for survival passed traits that led to their success to their offspring.
debates on evolution
Debates on Evolution
  • Most debate about evolution is religious rather than scientific.
  • Evolution challenges religious creation stories.
  • In 1950, the Catholic Church declared evolution compatible with Christianity.
    • Non-Overlapping Magisteria
common ancestors
Common Ancestors
  • Humans, gorillas and chimpanzees evolved from common ancestors.
  • All animals are equally evolved in different ways and under different circumstances.
  • Human ancestors diverged from those of chimpanzees and gorillas 7 to 10 m.y.a.
  • Primate Characteristics:
    • Share a tree-dwelling ancestry.
    • Grasping hands and feet for climbing.
    • Hands and feet with fully opposable thumbs.
    • Acute eyesight.
primate social behavior
Primate Social Behavior
  • Core of society is the bond between mothers and their offspring.
  • Play becomes central to the interaction of older primates with their age-mates.
  • Primates have displays of aggression and means of reconciliation.
primate tool use
Primate Tool Use
  • Females first develop tool-using skills and become more adept than males.
  • Tool use is learned behavior and passed along by the social group.
  • Some groups of chimpanzees do some activities and others do not.
    • Use sticks to threaten others or defend themselves.
    • Use water to separate grains of wheat from sand.
    • Use twigs or blades of grass to fish termites from their mounds.
early human ancestors human evolution
Early Human Ancestors & Human Evolution
  • Few in number and geographically confined to Africa.
  • Did not depend heavily on tools, and left few material remains.
  • Spread from African origins to inhabit most of the globe.
  • Humans have adapted to many different climates and ecosystems.
  • All humans are members of the biological family Hominidae.
  • Humans fall into two genera: Australopithecus and Homo.
homo habilis
Homo Habilis
  • Found in Africa between 2.5 and 1.8 million years ago.
  • Made sophisticated sets of tools as early as 2.3 million years ago.
  • Stone rings indicate that habilis probably built shelters for protection.
homo erectus
Homo erectus
  • Found in Africa, Asia, and Europe between 1.8 million and about 20,000 years ago.
  • Became increasingly dependent on culture to survive in the Ice Age.
  • Capable of controlling and using fire.
  • Lived by hunting, scavenging, and gathering.
  • Members of a population of archaic Homo sapiens.
  • Lived between 130,000 and 35,000 years ago.
  • Pollen found in graves show bodies were buried with flowers, suggesting rituals and belief in the afterlife.
homo sapiens sapiens
Homo sapiens sapiens
  • Tools were more sophisticated and efficient than any prior species.
  • Left symbolic and artistic remains in form of cave paintings and Venus figures.
  • Turned to the domestication of plants and animals about 10,000 years ago.
human variation
Human Variation
  • Human traits change in frequency geographically.
  • Blood type and skin color vary geographically.
  • The sickle cell gene is common in areas that have a high incidence of malaria.