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Why the Evolution of Humans From Apes Is More Complex Than We Think

You have probably heard about Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution that says humans evolved from apes. But the funny thing is — Darwin never said that.

5-Minute Crafts found out if it’s true that humans evolved from apes and what the English scientist really meant.

Humans and apes

Nowadays, humanity, like hundreds of years ago, shares the Earth with apes. The fact that these 2 species are connected has been admitted by anthropologists and biologists from all around the world.

But the interpretation of the famous theory by Darwin about human evolution from apes is a big simplification. People didn’t evolve from apes, at least, not in the way some people imagine one species would turn into another. Yes, apes still exist, but they didn’t just magically turn into humans.

In fact, both species developed in parallel and they probably had the same ancestor: an ancient primate that lived around 6 million years ago in Africa that gave birth to 2 branches. One of them lead to the appearance of modern humans, and the other one, to modern apes.

Why apes still exist

Modern primates exist today because they are not the ancestors of humans, but rather, their cousins.

Many people think that ancient apes evolved into primates, and primates into humans, as they think that evolution is a straight line. But this is not true.

Ancient apes didn’t evolve into modern ones. Modern primates and the apes before them evolved from a more ancient ancestor that scientists refer to as an anthropoid common ancestor.

But there’s no linear connection between the ancient apes, primates, and humans. Historically, primates have more in common with humans than with apes, like people have more in common with their brothers than their cousins.

If you treat evolution as a genealogical tree, the base of the trunk has the same ancestor, but primates and humans are on different branches.

This ancestor probably had the features of apes and humans. In 2000, scientists found one of the most ancient hominids. It lived in Kenya around 6 million years ago, it was probably the size of a chimp, and not only did it climb trees but it also could walk on 2 legs. Whether it was the common ancestor of the 2 species that exist today (apes and humans) or if there’s another missing link, we have yet to find out.

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