HUMAN EVOLUTION

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        Evolution is the complexity of processes by which living organisms established on the earth and have been expanded and modified through changes in form and function. Human evolution is the biological and cultural development of the spe­cies Hоmo sapiens or human beings. Humans evolved from apes, because of their similarities. This can be shown in the evidence. Early humans are classified in ten different types of families.

        Humans belong to the mammalian family Primates. In this arrangement, humans, along with our extinct close ancestors, and our nearest living relatives, the African apes, are some­times placed together in the family Hominidae, because of ge­netic similarities. Two-leg walking seems to be one of the ear­liest of the major hominine characteristics. In the course of human evolution, the size of the brain has been more than tri­pled. The increase in brain size may be related to changes in human being behaviour. The third major trend in hominine development is the gradual decrease in the size of the face and teeth.

        Between 7 and 20 million years ago, primitive apelike ani­mals were widely distributed on the African and on the Eura­sian continents.

       Ancestors of modern humans are divided into the category Australopithecus and Homo. They appeared about 5 million years ago.

       The history of human being begins with the australopithecines. All the australopithecines were bipedal and therefore possible hominines. They divided into five species. Genus Homo is also divided in five different groups. According to Britannica Encyclopedia, Australopithecus already lived in Kenya about 4 million years ago. This australopithecine had a brain size a little larger than chimpanzees. No tools of any kind have been found with this distant human ancestor.

          According to Encarta Encyclopedia, Homo erectus lived from about 1.8 million to 30,000 years ago. Until recently, Homo erectus was considered an evolutionary ancestor of mod­ern humans, or Homo sapiens. Homo erectus had a larger brain than earlier hominines. Homo erectus was also taller, with an evenly face and smaller teeth. Scientists believe this species lived in Africa between 2 million and 1.5 million years ago. Homo habilis is the earliest known member of the genus Homo. Homo habilis had a larger brain than australopithecines. Aus­tralopithecines had long arms and short legs, similar to those of apes. Homo habilis was taller than australopithecines, but shorter than Homo erectus. Homo sapiens are not identical in aspect with modern humans. Homo sapiens first appeared more than 90,000 years ago.

          But there is an oppositional point of view. There is a theo­ry that human ancestors were not apes. People were always humans, although they were smarter and larger than humans are today. According to this theory, evolutionary theory is a myth. God created everything. People that believe in creation- ism say that if man descended from ape-like creatures, then humans should be like them. Yet humans have very different DNA. The number of vertebrae in our backbone is different. Human cranial capacity is totally different.

         But no evidence is available about human remains from earlier times, which support evolutionary theory. There is evidence that ancient people lived in homes at the same time that others were living under trees or in caves.

        The theory of evolution is the most reasonable theory to­day and is actual living proof that humans did evolve from apes and why the environmental adaptations have made humans the dominant creatures on the earth.

 

 

 

QUESTIONS:

 

1.  What is evolution?

2.  What is human evolution?

3.  What family do humane belong to?

4.  What are the three major trends in hominine develop­ment?

5.  When did primitive apelike animals live?

6.  Who was the most ancient ancestor of modern humans?

7.  When did Homo erectus live?

8.  Who was the earliest known member of the genus Homo?

9.  What is an oppositional point of view?

 

 

VOCABULARY:

 

complexity of processes — совокупность процессов

to expand — зд. распространиться, расшириться

to modify — измениться; усовершенствоваться

Homo sapiens — Гомо сапиенс (лат. человек разумный)

human being — человеческое существо, человек

to evolve — развиваться, эволюционировать

аре — человекообразная обезьяна, обезьяна

evidence — доказательство

to belong to — принадлежать к

mammalian — отряд млекопитающих

family Primates — семья приматов

extinct — исчезнувший, вымерший

ancestors — предок, предшественник

family Hominidae — семья гоминидов

two-leg walking — зд. двуногий

apelike animals — животные наподобие человекоподоб­ных обезьян

Australopithecus — австралопитеки

bipedal — двуногий

hominines — зд. человекоподобные

Britannica Encyclopedia — энциклопедия Британика

brainsize — размер мозга

chimpanzee — шимпанзе

tools — зд. орудия труда

according to — согласно чему-л., в соответствии с

Encarta Encyclopedia — энциклопедия Энкарта

Homoerectus — Гомо эректус (лат. человек прямохо­дящий)

Homohabilis — Гомо абилис (лат. человек умелый);

aspect — внешний вид

smart — умный, разумный

creationism — креационизм («теория творения»)

to descend from — происходить от

DNA — ДНК

vertebrae — позвонок

backbone — позвоночник

human cranial capacity — объем человеческого черепа

human remains — человеческие останки

environmental adaptations — приспособление к окружа­ющей среде

dominant creatures — доминирующими / господствую­щими созданиями

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