Human Evolution
English 101/Tr


12/4/01


Would you get upset if someone were to describe you as an ape? Perhaps it has more truth in that statement than originally meets the eye. In today’s society there are many different races and origins of human beings. There are dark skinned, light skinned, tall, short, and various other combinations of human characteristics today. One might think to ask where all of these different aspects of human beings came from. Well throughout the ages this question has been thought of and many different theories have come up. There is the religious view, with Adam and Eve, or the scientific views. Some of the most brilliant philosophers and scientists have pondered this subject and have reached their own personal theories.


The theory of evolution is a complex and intriguing topic. There have been many different views and ideas from many different philosophers and scientists that have all made valid arguments. Human evolution may be the most mysterious of them all. It is interesting to ponder that the most intellectual mammal on the planet, was one day an ape. This hypothesis leads to a series of interesting questions. How did the ape change to a man? What caused this considerable change? There may never be a solid and clear answer to it. To this day there is evidence from extensive studies on this very topic.


Charles Darwin (1809-1882), a philosopher who spent the majority of his life studying evolution and came up with some interesting theories. Scientist, John Murry once said this of Darwin, “His theories and concepts of development of all forms of life through the slow-working process of natural selection are still to this day accepted as a valid idea of evolution.” (Western Canon) Murry was implying that Darwin’s theory of natural selection pertains to not just humans, but to everything. His ideas and various forms of scientific proof still give Darwin’s theory validity to this day. In Charles Darwin’s book, Origin of Species, he states:


In considering the Origin of Species, it is quite conceivable that a naturalist, reflecting on the mutual affinities of organic beings, on their embryological relations, their geographical distribution, geological succession, and other such facts, might come to the conclusion that each species had not been independently created, but had descended, like varieties, from other species. Nevertheless, such a conclusion, even if well founded, would be unsatisfactory, until it could be shown how the innumerable species inhabiting this world have been modified so as to acquire that perfection of structure and co-adaptation which most justly excites our admiration. Naturalists continually refer to external conditions, such as climate, food, &c., as the only possible cause of variation. (Western Canon)


This is the basis of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. He believes it was all about the “survival of the fittest” mentality. Thus each species was descended from a previous one and it was ever changing from various geological conditions and co-adaptation. Meaning that we all descended from apes and eventually evolved into what we are today. Darwin mainly focuses on the scientific aspects of natural selection, hybridism, and variation under nature. Natural Selection has been thought to be a highly likely theory. It deals with the whole idea of heredity and domestication of humans or the ape-like men in the past. Stronger traits in humans will continue to survive because the weak ones will die out and will fail to be carried off to their offspring. Therefore the mix of strong and weak traits combine to evolve into many different combinations over time and over thousands of generations. This also deals with climate and the fact that some species couldn’t survive if they were not properly equipped to deal with the climate they are living in. For example, during the Ice Age, men were extremely hairy and had course rough skin to keep warm from the extreme low temperatures. Another example would be the people who inhabit the rainforests of Africa or South America. Their skin is inherited from previous generations to keep them cool and to withstand such sweltering hot conditions year round. They have evolved into something that will ensure their survival in the conditions they live in. That is the main scientific view that is still strongly believed to this day. On the