Rethinking the human evolution cliche

Human evolution as seen as today


Wait a minute, I am not arguing against the idea that apes and humans share common ancestor. But I believe this picture is wrong the way it is represented and just keep nurturing the misconception that “humans comes from monkey”.
Here is why. Lets take Pan troglodytes (or the chimpanzee)  and Homo sapiens (the human being in its current iteration). There is no doubt that we share most of our DNA with a very high fidelity, but we are still different.
Lets take the family approach that one of my exceptional colleague (Adrian G.) used to explain the phylogenic tree to our students. If we take this approach, let’s make this common ancestor as our great-great-great…-great grandfather (or grandmother). This parent had some offspring that took different paths. These offsprings have a biological bond (of course they are siblings) but one did not generated the other. Now let’s get back to now to our chimp and us. We are very distant cousins, we share traits but we did not generated each other, thus void the picture depicted over.

Add to it some variants among our history (that good ol’ Neanderthal and the still mysterious Desinovian) and that makes it even more interesting if we consider that such species may have bred together (I would definitively recommend you to watch National Geographic “Sex in the Stone Age”).

If you want to know more about human evolution, I would recommend you to follow John Hawkes (a wonderful anthropologist from UW-Madison).



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