Human Evolution

          We humans are very sophisticated species, but we did not become this way out of nowhere.  We evolved over many many years.  Evolution is the process in which species’ bodies change according to their surroundings.  A species’ body structure can change due to evolution.  Also,  they can get smarter.  For example, we humans got more intelligent over time.  Our bodies have changed many times throughout many years.

          Our first ancestors roamed the Earth millions of years ago.  Our first ancestors were apes. They roamed the Earth on four legs, but they soon roamed around on two legs.  We all started to form in Africa, and most of our evolution happened in Africa.  About  3.5 million years ago our ape-like ancestors began to walk on two feet, instead of four feet.  This was caused because of environmental changes.  The environment changed when the country, India, collided with the continent, Asia.  This event then caused the mountain range that is known as the Himalayas to form.  When the Himalayas formed this caused a monsoon to occur.  The monsoon made the air dry.  This same air that was dry then traveled across East Africa, where our ancestors lived, and caused the rain to dramatically decrease compared to previous years.  This land then transformed from a rain forest to a Savannah.  This caused our ancestors to start walking on two legs instead of four.  They realized that they could see better by standing, and by walking on two feet they were saving energy.  They can’t be wasting energy in this period of time in the African Savannah.  Conserving energy at this time is very critical for them.

          About two million years ago more species of ape-man existed.  Many of those species died because they could not adapt.  Two of the species of ape-men were the Paranthropus boisei and the Homo habilis.  They both had different ways of life.  The boisei were gentle, and they were led by a leader whose strength and power kept the group together.  They were well adapted to the dry land.  Their diet was all vegetation.  Their jaws were very strong, so they could eat the toughest  vegetation.  They ate dried tubers and reed roots.  The habilis had a variety of skills.  They were scavengers, and they would try anything to survive.  They were active,  tough, alert, and noisy.  They did however, suffer during the near drought of the dry season, but they had something the boisei did not have.  They had brainpower.  The boisei were more brawn type.  The habilis learned to work together to scare other animals or enemies from food, and they know how to make basic stone tools.  The boisei ended up dying out while the habilis survived.  The habilis survived because they were able to use their brain power, and they were able to change according to the environment.  Unlike the habilis, the boisei did not change they were only able to eat vegetables, and they were not that smart.  When the plants died they died as well.  They were not willing to do whatever to survive.  The boisei were specialists while the habilis were generalists.  The habilists generalist trait is in us humans today.  We humans will do anything to survive.  We do not just depend mainly on one thing to survive.

          One and a half million years ago a new ape-like species appeared in Southern Africa.  They were called Homo ergaster.  We are now starting to get our modern day looks, and we are starting to become more sophisticated.  The Homo ergaster had long, human-like noses.  These new noses cooled the air that was being breathed in.  The Homo ergaster had hairless bodies, millions of tiny sweat glands,  and a brain two thirds the size of our brain today.  The sweat glands made them stop panting to control temperature.  They now sweat to control their temperature.  They got better at making tools, and they made a stone hand axe.  They can now understand others because of their big brains.  They are no longer lead by a dominant male.  They live together and stay together as family and friends.  They are starting to lose their animal side.  They have stronger social bonds and a better understanding of the world, so they decide to leave Africa.  Over thousands of years they have spread all throughout the Middle East and Asia, where they are now known as Homo erectus.  They have not changed a bit after a million years.  They made no technological advancements, but they did learn how to control and work with fire as a weapon, tool, and for warmth towards the end of their existence.  They are now starting to evolve into modern day humans.  

          About a half a million years ago Homo heidelbergensis appear.  They are the last step before we humans exist.  They split up and then Neanderthals and Homo sapiens appeared.  The Neanderthals died out which caused the Homo sapiens to be the last ones surviving.  Homo sapiens are also known as modern humans.  We humans have been passed down many traits throughout the millions of years of evolving.  We are the most sophisticated and smartest species.  We can adapt to our environment by using our brains.  Many qualities separate us from other species.  For example, if we have a problem we can solve it.  We can make helpful tools to survive.  We can adapt quickly.  We can adapt to cold weather by simply wearing long sleeve shirts and a heavy jacket, and  we can adapt to warm weather by simply wearing lighter clothing.  We are also very civilized.  We live together, and care for eachother.  Those are some of the qualities we humans have that separate us from other species.  Those qualities are what make us human.

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