Humans - Emergence

mya = million years ago


The Humans Emerge:

What a piece of work is man?

Let's give Patrick Stewart a chance here.  
My partiality to Gielgud or Olivier is showing

Life has survived massive catastrophes, some of which nearly wiped out all life, but not completely. The most recent event, an asteroid impact which hit near the Yucatan peninsula 65 Mya, wiped out the dinosaurs but opened the way for mammals like us.

It took a long time for plants and animals to get going again after the asteroid strike, but by about 10 Mya, apes and monkeys inhabited the trees of East Africa. Climate change soon  forced our ancestors down on the grassy plain of the African savannah. This began a process which changed us from being like our ape and chimp cousins to modern man - homo sapiens.

We can track some of these changes. [see timeline below] Our first change seems to be walking upright, like Ardi below - left, but she is still hairy, with grapsing feet.  As we shed our hair for running and developed running feet, like Lucy below - right, we got better at chasing game for long distances - our only physical advantage.

Soon we developed tools and weapons - spears and axes. The fossil record show many larger animals killed by our weapons after this time. Out tools became sophisticated and we discovered fire. Then our brains began accelerated growth, requiring a larger skull and larger pelvic birth canal. Larger animals disappeared wherever humans appeared. 

It seems homo sapiens interbred with other human species as we now have some of their DNA, but as other species of humans disappeared, many showed telltale axe holes in their heads.? 

Now there is only us - Homo sapiens. Our numbers have grown to 8 billion, now with agriculture and urban civilizations. Clearly our aggressive behavior is now threatening and needs to change. Can it?

Ardi - 4.4 mya                                                                                                 Lucy -  3.2 mya

Lucy - 3.2 myaArdi - 4.4 mya


To use a clickable form of this table,
go to Wikiwand - click here

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© Gareth Harris 2019                                      Email:                  See also: