Category Archives: Human Evolution

Falsehood: Humans evolved from apes

Is it a Falsehood that Humans Evolve from Apes?

How about this one: Is it a Falsehood that Humans did NOT evolve from Apes????

Yes and no. Humans descend from a population of primates from which other apes also descended (minimally the two species of living chimps) and which was part of the panoply of late Miocene forms, all related to each other, that we call apes. So yes, humans evolved from apes.
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Nyamulagira Volcano and Human Evolution

I had mentioned earlier that the volcanoes of the Virugna region in the Western Rift Valley (as well as other highland spots) have often been islands of rain forest separated from each other by different habitats, including grasslands and wooded savannas. this has produced an island effect that has been a laboratory for evolution, and it is likely that these forest islands (and others in the greater region of east Central Africa and western East Africa) have been the loci of evolution of many endemic species. (See Island Africa: The Evolution of Africa’s Rare Animals and Plants by Kingdon for an excellent overview of the Island Effect in highland regions of Central and East Africa.)

It is probably not a coincidence that two of the three subspecies of gorilla live within sight of each other (and of the main subspecies, the lowland gorilla) within this region. The Virunga volcanoes are not old enough to have supported island forests for the evolution of these specific subspecies, but other highlands in the region, or other volcanoes (perhaps in the Eastern Rift) may well have been the location in which they evolved.

And, as it turns out, there is reason to believe that the split between chimps and humans occurred on one of these volcanic mountain tops several million years ago. Or, at least, in an environment geologically similar to the upper reaches of the Virunga Volcanoes. But to tell this story right, I have to go back a few years.
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Richard Dawkins defends theory of evolution

He talks about his book, The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution. The interviewer is not my favorite interviewer. A public radio interviewer should not even be asking questions about religion and creationism unless doing a story that is explicitly on fringe beliefs. She digs in just after 16 minutes with the meany atheist thing. But here you have it:

Human Brain Size: Does it matter? And has it decreased?

ResearchBlogging.orgSometimes people walk around with only half a brain, or a large portion of their brain disconnected, or simply having never developed, or an extra large brain, and we usually take little notice. But when there is a five or ten or twenty percent difference between two groups of people we are quickly willing to use that to decide (as in the Bell Curve) that those people with the (on average) smaller brain are inferior. The fact that all the well known studies comparing groups of living people that show such differences have been shown to be bogus (i.e. made up or doctored data) is often ignored.

Anyway, the following is the abstract of a 1998 paper by M. Henneberg that is still relevant of some interest:

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Is the latest claim regarding “chimp-human” inbreeding a bunch of hooey?

Yes, but not necessarily because it is wrong.

ResearchBlogging.orgSome time ago researchers proposed that the modern DNA signal indicated that chimps and humans continued to interbreed long after they split in evolutionary time. A new study refutes this, and as the author states, this new study is more correct because it “simpler and hence more likely”.

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Is it a Falsehood that Humans Evolve from Apes?

This is another falsehood, but a tricky one. Remember the point of falsehoods: They are statements that are typically associated with meanings or implications that are misleading or incorrect, and in some cases downright damaging. “Humans evolved from apes” is an excellent example of a falsehood because it is technically correct, yet the implied meanings that arise from it are potentially wrong. Even more importantly, you can’t really analyze the statement “Humans evolved from apes” without getting into an extended analysis and discussion of what an ape is and what a human is.
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