An Evolutionary Fork: Fossil Record Evidence of Humanity and Its Variation from the Primate

1677 Words Jun 3rd, 2016 7 Pages
An Evolutionary Fork: Fossil Record Evidence of Humanity and Its Variation From the Primate The early history of humans (homo-sapiens) is a contentious and heavily debated subject in the scientific community. Exactly when and from which ancestry our species evolved is a topic of speculation that many disagree on. What most in the scientific community can almost unanimously agree on is that homo-sapiens did indeed evolve from lesser beings. There is no shortage of fossil record indicating evolution as a force in this world’s early progression. The real debate begins with when humans arrived in the fossil record themselves. The function of this essay will be to first designate which characteristics define and distinguish humans from …show more content…
Which characteristics define humans as homo-sapiens and are the specifics to look for and use in differentiating the fossil records of primates versus early hominids is really a matter of scientific opinion and not definable fact. There are many differences between modern humans and modern primates such as Chimpanzees, human’s closest animal relative sharing approximately 99% of common DNA. Humans use language for example, Chimpanzees do not. Humans have complex art and music while Chimps do not engage in such activities. Unfortunately, these characteristics are not visible in fossil records and one must therefore isolate the physical characteristics that differentiate the two species in order to locate them in fossil records. Schultz states later in that same article: Man became distinguished (from primates) chiefly in connection with his three outstanding specializations: the early and undoubtedly rapid acquisition of the erect posture, the later, gradual and ultimately great increase in relative brain-size, and the comparatively very recent prolongation of his main periods of life. (Schultz 1950, 428) While the prolongation of life is something that can be found in fossil records, that is so recent a characterization of humans it seems prudent to instead focus on two other physical characteristics of homo-sapiens that separate them from primates: the shift of the large toe from the side of the foot for use in grasping to the front of

Related Documents