12 Theories About How We Became Human And Why They're All Wrong (2023)

New Human Ancestor Discovered: Homo naledi (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO)

Vonmarcos straussNational Geography

Posted on September 12, 2015

11 minutes read

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What work is the man! Everyone agrees. But what is it all about?a wise manDoes that make us unique among animals, let alone among apes, and when and how did our ancestors acquire that something? The last century has seen a plethora of theories. Some reveal as much about the times in which their advocates lived as they do about human evolution.

1. We make tools:"It's insideagainTools that make humans unique," anthropologist Kenneth Oakley wrote inA 1944 article. monkeysuseHe found objects like tools, he explained, "but the shaping of sticks and stones for specific purposes was the first recognizable human activity." In the early 1960s, Louis Leakey led the rise of toolmaking, and with it mankind, to a species calleda useful man("Handy Man"), who lived in East Africa about 2.8 million years ago. But as Jane Goodall and other researchers have since shown,chimpanzeesThey also form rods for specific purposes, such as tearing off their leaves to "fish" for underground insects. Crows that don't have hands are also very useful.

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2. We are killers: According to anthropologist Raymond Dart, our ancestors differed from living apes in that they were staunch killers: carnivorous creatures that "seize live prey by force, beating them to death, tearing up their broken bodies, dismembering them limb by limb, and consuming their voracious... wiped out prey." ". thirsty for the hot blood of victims and greedily devours the sallow and twisted flesh. Now it may seem like popular fiction, but after the horrific carnage of World War II, Dart's 1953 bookArticleOutlining his "killer ape" theory struck a chord.

3. We share food: In the 1960s, the killer ape gave way to the hippie ape. anthropologistglynn isaache uncovered evidence of animal carcasses deliberately moved from the sites of their deaths to places where the meat could presumably be shared with the entire community. In Isaac's view, sharing food led to the need to share information about where to find food, and thus to the development of language and other distinctively human social behaviors.

4. We swim: Somewhat later in the Age of Aquarius,Elaine Morgan, a TV documentary writer, claimed that humans are very different from other primates because our ancestors evolved in a different environment: near and in water. Their hair loss made them faster swimmers, while their upright posture allowed them to swim. The "water ape" hypothesis is widely rejected by the scientific community. But in 2013 David Attenborough supported him.

5. We throw things: Archaeologist Reid Ferring believes that our ancestors began to become men when they evolved theAbility to throw rocks at high speed.. NODmanissi, a 1.8-million-year-old hominid site in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, Ferring found evidence of thisstanding manHe invented public stoning to keep predators away from their prey. "The Dmanisi people were small," says Ferring. “This place was full of big cats. So how did hominids survive? How did they get out of Africa? Throwing stones offers part of the answer.” Animal stoning also socialized us, he argues, because it required a group effort to succeed.

6. Hunting: The hunt did much more than inspire collaboration, anthropologists Sherwood Washburn and C. S. Lancaster argued in a 1968 studyPapier: "In a very real sense, our intellect, interests, emotions, and basic social life are all evolutionary products of a successful adaptation to hunting." For example, our larger brains evolved out of the need to store more information about where and when to find a game. Hunting also led to a division of labor between the sexes, with women in charge of gathering. Which begs the question: why do women have big brains too?

7. We trade food for sex: More specifically, monogamous sex. The crucial turning point in human evolution, according to onetheoryPublished in 1981 by C. Owen Lovejoy, it was the rise of monogamy six million years ago. Until then, brutal alpha males who kicked out rival suitors were having more sex. However, monogamous females preferred males, who were more adept at providing food and helping raise the young. According to Lovejoy, our ancestors started walking upright because it freed their hands and allowed them to carry more food home.

8. We eat meat (cooked): Big brains are hungry: Gray matter requires 20 times more energy than muscles. They could never have evolved on a vegetarian diet,some researchers claim; Rather, our brains only grew when we started eating meat, a high-protein, high-fat food source, about two to three million years ago. And according to the anthropologistRichard WranghamEver since our ancestors invented cooking, a unique human behavior that makes food easier to digest, they wasted less energy chewing or shredding meat and therefore had even more energy available for their brains. Eventually, those brains grew large enough to make the conscious decision to go vegan.

9. We eat carbohydrates (cooked): Or maybe our larger brains were made possible by carb loading, according toa new article. After our ancestors invented cooking, root vegetables and other starchy plants became an excellent source of brain food that was more readily available than meat. An enzyme in our saliva called amylase helps break down carbohydrates into the glucose that the brain needs. evolutionary geneticistMarcos G.Thomasfrom University College London points out that our DNA contains multiple copies of the amylase gene, suggesting that it and the root vegetable helped fuel the explosive growth of the human brain.

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10. We walk on two legs: Was there the crucial turning point in human evolution when our ancestors came down from the trees and started walking upright? Proponents of the "savannah hypothesis" say that climate change has driven this adaptation. When Africa became drier about three million years ago, forests shrank and the savannah dominated the landscape. This favored primates, which could stand above tall grass and watch for predators, and move more efficiently through open landscapes where food and water sources were distant. A problem for this hypothesis is the 2009 discoveryArdipithecus ramidus,a hominid that lived in present-day Ethiopia 4.4 million years ago. At that time the area was damp and wooded, but "Ardi" could walk on two legs.

11. We adapt:Richard Potts, director of the Smithsonian's Human Origins Program, suggests that human evolution was influenced bySome changesin the weather and not a single trend. The rise ofHomoThe ancestry nearly three million years ago, he says, coincided with drastic swings between wet and dry climates. Natural selection favored primates that could deal with constant and unpredictable change, argues Potts: Adaptability itself is the defining human trait.

12. We unite and conquer: AnthropologeCurtis Mareanoffers a vision of human origins that fits well with our globalized era: We are themlast invasive species. After being confined to a single continent for tens of thousands of years, our ancestors colonized the globe. How did they accomplish this feat? The key, Marean says, was a genetic predisposition to collaboration, born not out of altruism but out of conflict. Cooperative groups of primates gained a competitive advantage over rival groups, and their genes survived. "The combination of this unique propensity with the advanced cognitive abilities of our ancestors enabled them to adapt to new environments with agility," Marean writes. "It also fueled innovation and led to a revolutionary technology: advanced projectile weapons."

So what is wrong with all these theories?

Many of them have merits, but they share a bias: the notion that humanity can be defined by a single well-defined trait or group of traits, and that a single stage in evolution was a crucial turning point in the inevitable journey to get thereA wise man.

But our ancestors weren't beta testers. They didn't evolve into anything, they just survived asAustralopithecusÖstanding man.And no trait they acquired was a turning point, for the result was never inevitable: the toolmaker, stone-throwing, meat-and-potato-eater, fiercely cooperative, adaptable, and oh-so-brain-killing. great ape that we are. And it's still evolving now.

<p>Archaeologists examine a colossal Olmec stone head in La Venta, Mexico in this 1947 photo by <i>National Geographic</i>. The Olmec civilization, the first in Mesoamerica, offers valuable clues to the development of the rest of the region. </p>

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Archaeologists examine a colossal Olmec stone head in La Venta, Mexico, 1947National GeographyPhotography. The Olmec civilization, the first in Mesoamerica, offers valuable clues to the development of the rest of the region.

Photo by Richard Hewitt Stewart, National Geographic

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What is the theories of the origin of human being? ›

Human evolution is the lengthy process of change by which people originated from apelike ancestors. Scientific evidence shows that the physical and behavioral traits shared by all people originated from apelike ancestors and evolved over a period of approximately six million years.

What are the theories of human evolution? ›

Evolution theory

They believe that people developed through a process called evolution. Evolution is a process of development. It involves slow change from one stage to another. The Theory of Evolution was developed by a British scientist called Charles Darwin.

What are the flaws in the theory of evolution? ›

The three limitations of Darwin's theory concern the origin of DNA, the irreducible complexity of the cell, and the paucity of transitional species. Because of these limitations, the author predicts a paradigm shift away from evolution to an alternative explanation.

What are the two main theories for the origin of modern human explain? ›

Historically, two key models have been put forward to explain the evolution? of Homo sapiens. These are the 'out of Africa' model and the 'multi-regional' model. The 'out of Africa' model is currently the most widely accepted model. It proposes that Homo sapiens evolved in Africa before migrating across the world.

What are the 3 theories on the nature of the human person? ›

In The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature , Steven Pinker maintains that at present there are three competing views of human nature—a Christian theory, a "blank slate" theory (what I call a social constructivist theory), and a Darwinian theory—and that the last of these will triumph in the end.

What are the 5 main theories of evolution? ›

If any of the five theories fails, they all fail.
  • Evolution as such. Evolution as such. ...
  • Common descent. ...
  • Multiplication of species. ...
  • Gradualism. ...
  • Natural selection.

What are the 4 major theories of human development? ›

Major theories of development include the cognitive-development, learning, systems, and psychoanalytic. These systems of thought give rise to various theories on development.

What are the 5 theories of evolution of life? ›

In fact, we may distinguish five theories that Darwin combined: evolution as such, common descent, gradualism, multiplication of species, and natural selection.

Is evolution a fact or a theory? ›

Evolution is both a fact and a theory. Evolution is widely observable in laboratory and natural populations as they change over time. The fact that we need annual flu vaccines is one example of observable evolution.

What is an example of bad evolution? ›

A few shark species have live births (instead of laying eggs). The Jaws juniors grow teeth in the womb. The first sibling or two to mature sometimes eat their siblings in utero.

How was DNA first created? ›

We are reasonably sure now that DNA and DNA replication mechanisms appeared late in early life history, and that DNA originated from RNA in an RNA/protein world.

What are two theories of how life began? ›

Some scientists support the RNA world hypothesis, which suggests that the first life was self-replicating RNA. Others favor the metabolism-first hypothesis, placing metabolic networks before DNA or RNA. Simple organic compounds might have come to early Earth on meteorites.

What are the three theories about the evolution of human society? ›

They also rely on three basic theories of social change: evolutionary, functionalist, and conflict theories. Sociologists in the 19th century applied Charles Darwin's (1809–1882) work in biological evolution to theories of social change.

How many theories of origin of life are there? ›

Divine creation, evolution, spontaneous generation, and cosmogenesis are the four theories examined.

What makes a human a human? ›

The three traits described are bipedalism, language, and tool making. This video assumes some familiarity with the theory of evolution, the process of how organisms developed from earlier forms of life.

What are the 5 characteristics of the human nature? ›

6 Characteristics of Human Nature
  • Laziness.
  • Greedy.
  • Ambition.
  • Self Interest.
  • Ignorance.
  • Vanity.
Jun 29, 2017

What are human theories? ›

Human Relations Theory focuses specifically on the individuals needs and resultant behaviors of individuals and groups. It takes an interpersonal approach to managing human beings. It presents the organization is made up of formal and informal elements. The formal elements of an organization are its structure.

What are the 8 species of human evolution? ›

Apart from our species, the gallery features eight other kinds of human: Homo habilis, Homo rudolfensis, Homo erectus, Homo antecessor, Homo heidelbergensis, Homo floresiensis (nicknamed 'the hobbit'), Homo neanderthalensis (the Neanderthals) and the recently discovered Homo naledi.

Who was the first human being on earth? ›

The First Humans

One of the earliest known humans is Homo habilis, or “handy man,” who lived about 2.4 million to 1.4 million years ago in Eastern and Southern Africa.

What is the most famous theory of evolution? ›

Charles Darwin was a British naturalist who proposed the theory of biological evolution by natural selection. Darwin defined evolution as "descent with modification," the idea that species change over time, give rise to new species, and share a common ancestor.

What are the 4 rules of evolution? ›

There are four principles at work in evolution—variation, inheritance, selection and time. These are considered the components of the evolutionary mechanism of natural selection.

What is the original theory of evolution? ›

Darwin and a scientific contemporary of his, Alfred Russel Wallace, proposed that evolution occurs because of a phenomenon called natural selection. In the theory of natural selection, organisms produce more offspring than are able to survive in their environment.

What are the 6 types of human development? ›

Our new Thrive philosophy is born from six stages of human development: social-emotional, intellectual, moral, psychological, physical, and spiritual.

What are the 6 developmental theories? ›

This chapter will briefly describe the seven major theoretical perspectives or theories on human development: Maturationist Theory, Psychoanalytic Theory, Erikson's Psychosocial Theory, Behaviorism Theory, Biopsychosocial Theory, Cognitive Development Theory, and Ecological System Theory.

What are the 6 development and growth theories? ›

Major growth and development theories include biophysical developmental theory by Gesell, psychosocial development theory by Erikson; cognitive development theory by Piaget; moral development theory by Kohlberg; and finally, the psychoanalytic development theory by Freud.

What is the most accepted theory of origin of life? ›

The most accepted theory for the origin of life is Oparin - the Haldane theory. Reason for acceptance of this theory: This theory states that from the abiogenetic material organic molecules could be formed in the presence of an external energy source.

Where did life come from? ›

Mineral-laden water emerging from a hydrothermal vent on the Niua underwater volcano in the Lau Basin, southwest Pacific Ocean. The microorganisms that live near such plumes have led some scientists to suggest them as the birthplaces of Earth's first life forms.

What does the Bible say about evolving? ›

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."

Is evolution a fact or fantasy? ›

That is, it is a fact that organisms have changed throughout time as seen through data. The theory of evolution is a well-supported and accepted explanation of this fact.

How do we know evolution is true? ›

The Fossil Record

This evidence attests to the fact that there has been a tremendous variety of living things. Some extinct species had traits that were transitional between major groups of organisms. Their existence confirms that species are not fixed but can evolve into other species over time.

Can evolution go wrong? ›

Not all evolutionary change is good. Genetic changes can be neutral or harmful, as well as beneficial.

What have humans lost through evolution? ›

These included the muscles of the ear; wisdom teeth; the appendix; the tail bone; body hair; and the semilunar fold in the corner of the eye. Darwin also commented on the sporadic nature of many vestigial features, particularly musculature.

Does evolution affect humans? ›

Evolution is present in our daily lives, like when we catch or combat the flu virus. Evolution also plays a role in some of our most pressing global health problems.

What came before DNA? ›

The hypothesis that RNA preceded DNA and proteins in evolution. In the earliest cells, pre-RNA molecules would have had combined genetic, structural, and catalytic functions and these functions would have gradually been replaced by RNA.

When did human DNA start? ›

Ancient DNA Tells Our Species' History

Genomic studies like these have allowed us to examine human genomes from around 500,000 years ago when our ancestors (the species Homo sapiens) were diverging from other similar species, such as Homo neanderthalensis or Neanderthals.

Can we create RNA from scratch? ›

This Could Be How Life on Earth Started. We just received more evidence that life on Earth may have started with RNA, with scientists in Japan creating RNA that can replicate, diversify, and develop complexity all on its own.

What was the first form of life? ›

The earliest life forms we know of were microscopic organisms (microbes) that left signals of their presence in rocks about 3.7 billion years old. The signals consisted of a type of carbon molecule that is produced by living things.

What is the Cosmozoic theory? ›

The cosmozoic theory is also known as the panspermia theory. According to this view, life arrived on Earth in the form of highly resistant spores of some creatures from other celestial bodies such as meteorites.

What is the RNA world theory? ›

The RNA world hypothesis suggests that life on Earth began with a simple RNA molecule that could copy itself. The RNA world hypothesis suggests that life on Earth began with a simple RNA molecule that could copy itself without help from other molecules. DNA, RNA, and proteins are central to life on Earth.

What is the killer ape theory? ›

The killer ape theory or killer ape hypothesis is the theory that war and interpersonal aggression was the driving force behind human evolution. It was originated by Raymond Dart in the 1950s; it was developed further in African Genesis by Robert Ardrey in 1961.

How did the first human appear? ›

The first human ancestors appeared between five million and seven million years ago, probably when some apelike creatures in Africa began to walk habitually on two legs. They were flaking crude stone tools by 2.5 million years ago. Then some of them spread from Africa into Asia and Europe after two million years ago.

What are the five 5 theories of society? ›

Definitions of key terms for the five basic sociological perspectives – Functionalism, Marxism, Feminism, Social Action Theory and Postmodernism.

What are the 7 theories of the origin of the universe? ›

It has passed through various stages, all of which can be considered cosmological theories. The flat Earth, the geocentric model, heliocentricity, galacticocentricity, the Big Bang, the Inflationary Big Bang… Each model explains what was known at the time and what the measurements could confirm.

What are the 9 theories of the origin of the Earth? ›

The early theories were the Gaseous hypothesis of Kant, the Nebular Hypothesis of Laplace, the Planetesimal hypothesis of Chamberlin, Jean and Jeffery's tidal theory/Gravitational Theory, Russel's binary star hypothesis, Hoyle's supernova hypothesis, and Schmidt's interstellar hypothesis.

What are the 6 characteristics of life? ›

Big Ideas: All living things have certain traits in common: Cellular organization, the ability to reproduce, growth & development, energy use, homeostasis, response to their environment, and the ability to adapt.

What are the 5 theories of human? ›

5 Theories On The Creation Of Humans.
  • Evolution from Apes. Humans came from apes alongside the creation by god this is the most believed theory of human creation. ...
  • Eve and Adam Theory. Aliens there are lots of people who strongly suggest we were put on Earth by aliens. ...
  • Evolution from Fish. ...
  • Intelligent Design Theory.

What is the theory of humanity? ›

Marx's theory of humanity and nature is an indispensable part of Marx's theory of social development. The history of the development of human society is essentially a natural historical process. Human must start from certain natural premises and start from a combination of certain natural premises and human practices.

What are the three origins of humans? ›

Human Evolution

Learn how early humans evolved from Homo habilis, to Homo erectus, to Homo sapiens and developed basic survival tools.

What are the 4 theories and origin of life? ›

Divine creation, evolution, spontaneous generation, and cosmogenesis are the four theories examined.

What are the 6 theories of evolution? ›

Coyne, a distinguished evolutionary geneticist at the University of Chicago and a regular contributor to National Public Radio and The Times Literary Supplement, begins by defining the modern theory of evolution in terms of six components: evolution, gradualism, speciation, common ancestry, natural selection, and ...

What makes us human? ›

The three traits described are bipedalism, language, and tool making. This video assumes some familiarity with the theory of evolution, the process of how organisms developed from earlier forms of life.

What is the universal theory of human evolution? ›

Universal evolution is a theory of evolution formulated by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and Julian Huxley that describes the gradual development of the Universe from subatomic particles to human society, considered by Teilhard as the last stage.

Who is the first human form? ›

Overview. Homo sapiens, the first modern humans, evolved from their early hominid predecessors between 200,000 and 300,000 years ago. They developed a capacity for language about 50,000 years ago.

What are the 8 species of human origins? ›

Apart from our species, the gallery features eight other kinds of human: Homo habilis, Homo rudolfensis, Homo erectus, Homo antecessor, Homo heidelbergensis, Homo floresiensis (nicknamed 'the hobbit'), Homo neanderthalensis (the Neanderthals) and the recently discovered Homo naledi.

Who was the first human? ›

The likely "first human", she says, was Homo erectus. These short, stocky humans were a real stayer in human evolutionary history. Estimates vary, but they're thought to have lived from around 2 million to 100,000 years ago, and were the first humans to walk out of Africa and push into Europe and Asia.


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