Human evolution
Posted on October 8th, 2013

Dr Hector Perera‚ ‚ ‚ ‚ ‚  London

Human evolution‚ is about the origin of human beings which is the evolutionary process leading up to the appearance of‚ modern humans. When we studied Darwin-â„¢s theory of evolution at advanced level, we studied that the humans evolved from monkeys but not in detail. All humans belong to the same‚ species, which has spread from its birthplace in Africa‚ to almost all parts of the world. Its origin in Africa is proved by the‚ fossils‚ which have been found there. They entered Europe somewhat later, between 1.5 million and 1 million years. Species of modern humans populated many parts of the world much later. For instance people first came to Australia probably within the past 60,000 years and the Americans within the past 30,000 years or so. The beginning of agriculture and the rise of the first civilisations occurred within the past 12,000 years.

They evolved in Africa and travelled to this country on land routes through the Middle East down India to the island.‚ Geologically, Sri Lanka is an extension of peninsular India that separated from the mainland perhaps as recently as the‚ Miocene Epoch‚ (roughly 2.5 to 5 million years ago). Findings at‚ Iranamadu‚ indicate that there were Paeolithic people in Sri Lanka as early as 300,000 BP There is definite evidence of settlements by‚ prehistoric‚ people in Sri Lanka by about 125,000 BP. The earliest archaeological evidence of human colonization in Sri Lanka appears at the site of Balangoda.‚ Balangoda Man‚ arrived on the island about 34,000 years ago and has been identified as‚ Mesolithic‚ hunter gatherers‚ who lived in caves.

This is a lengthy process of change by which people originated from ape like ancestors. It was known for a long time several‚ centuries‚ that man and the apes were related. At heart, their anatomy‚ is similar, despite many superficial differences. This was the reason why Buffon and Linnaeus, in the 18th century, put them together in one family. Charles Darwin-â„¢s theory of evolution‚ says that such basic structural similarity comes from the‚ common origin‚ of the group. The apes and man are close relatives, and are primates ‚  the order of mammals which includes monkeys, apes, lemurs and tarsiers.

Scientific evidence shows that the physical and behavioural traits shared by all people originated from ape like ancestors and evolved over a period of approximately six million years. While it began with the last common ancestor of all life, the topic usually covers only the evolutionary history of‚ primates, in particular the genus‚ Homo, and the emergence of Homosapiens‚ as a distinct species of Hominids‚ (or “great apes”). Homosapiens is the scientific term for human beings. H. sapiens‚ is the only surviving species of the genus‚ Homo. The first Homosapiens,‚ the ancestors of today’s humans evolved around 200,000 years ago.

Modern humans are the subspecies Homo sapiens differentiated from their direct ancestor,‚ Homo sapiens idaltu which is‚ (roughly translated as “elder wise human”), the other known subspecies, is now extinct.‚ Homo neanderthalensis, which became extinct 30,000 years ago, has sometimes been classified as a subspecies. Anatomically modern humans first appear in the fossil record in Africa about 195,000 years ago, and studies of molecular biology give evidence that the approximate time of divergence from the common ancestor of all modern human populations was 200,000 years ago.‚ The broad study of African genetic diversity headed by Dr. Sarah Tishkoff found the‚ San people‚ to express the greatest genetic diversity among the 113 distinct populations sampled, making them one of 14 “ancestral population clusters”. The research also located the origin of modern human migration in south-western Africa, near the coastal border of‚ Namibia and‚ Angola. The study of human evolution involves many scientific disciplines, including physical anthoropology, primatology, linguistics, evolutionary psychology, embryology and genetics.

Genetic studies show that primates diverged from other mammals-â„¢ about85 million years ago in the Late Cretaceous period and the earliest fossils appear in the Paleocene around 55 million years ago. The family Hominidae diverged from the Hylobatidae‚ (Gibbon) family 15-20 million years ago, and around 14 million years ago, the Ponginae (orangutans), diverged from the Hominidae family.

Bipedalism was observed most commonly among chimpanzees when they fed on the small fruits of diminutive, open-forest trees. Chimpanzees fed bipedally from such trees either by reaching up to pick fruits while standing on the ground, or from within the tree, in which case bipedalism was frequently stabilized by grasping an overhead branch. The human‚ foot‚ evolved to act as a platform to support the entire‚ weight‚ of the body, rather than acting as a grasping structure, as it did in early‚ hominids. Humans therefore have smaller toes than their bipedal ancestors. Bipedalism is the basic adaption of the Hominin line, and the earliest bipedal Hominin‚ is considered to be either Sahelandthropus or Orrorin, with Ardipithecus, a full bipedal, coming somewhat later. The gorilla and chimpanzee diverged around the same time, about 4-6 million years ago, and either‚ Sahelanthropus‚ or‚ Orrorin‚ may be our last shared ancestor with them. The early bipedals eventually evolved into the autralopithecines‚ and later the genus‚ Homo.

Homoerectus and Homoergaster were the first of the hominine to leave Africa and these species spread through Africa, Asia and Europe between 1.3 to 1.8 million years ago. According to recent African Ancestry theory, modern humans evolved in Africa possibly from Homo-heidelergenisi, Homo-floresiensis and Homo-neanderthalenis.

The study of human evolution is a vast topic, cannot complete in just one little article. One thing these human didn-â„¢t land on the earth by coming as humans from another far distant planet from the never ending universe full of infinity number of planets. Now humans can land in outer space such as on moon or any other planet such as on Pluto.

When Americans first landed on moon, and exploring the surface they found a man already there and selling, -Curd and trickle- and the man is from down south of Sri Lanka. Don-â„¢t take it serious, it was just a cartoon in the paper to say that down south people are superior than American with modern technology.

The‚ Moon is‚ the only natural satellite of the Earth and the fifth largest‚ moon‚ in the Solar System. Who knows one day humans can happily live ever after in other planets then there would be a problem to find out where do they come from, who knows? Your comments are welcomed [email protected]


One Response to “Human evolution”

  1. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    By the way Tamil speaking Homosapiens have learned to swim as fish and fly as birds but they have not yet learned to walk as brothers and sisters. The real welfare of Homosapiens is to share love, peace, and prosper. “Tamil Exclusiveness” concept is one of the main causes for ethnic tension in our motherland. Mono ethnic enclaves should not be encouraged. That’s the reason to non-tolerance of other cultures. Everyone should have a common Sri Lankan identity. Sri Lanka is for every son and daughter of the soil, whether speaking in English, Tamil or Sinhala. Equality,liberty and freedom to exercise one’s religion, language and culture is all that matters. We are all Sri Lankans and Sri Lanka belongs to all its children. Every Sri Lankan citizen has to be treated equally, should be allowed to move around freely without any restrictions and when they do so they should be encouraged to procure these assets at market prices. There are no ethnic homelands in Sri Lanka… only Sri Lankans and Sri Lanka. If the Tamils can live other parts of Sri Lanka, then why Sinhalese don’t have the same right. Sri Lanka is a free country; Anybody from Dondra Point should be able to live in Point Pedro and vice versa as well. Co-inhabitant is the best solution to national integrity and makes different ethnic groups to understand each other.

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