Ape to Man

Ape to Man

2005, Science  -   24 Comments
Ratings: 8.36/10 from 64 users.

Ape to ManIt has long been considered the most compelling question in our history: Where do human beings come from? Although life has existed for millions of years, only in the past century-and-a-half have we begun to use science to explore the ancestral roots of our own species.

The search for the ultimate answer has taken a number of twists and turns, with careers made and broken along the way. Ape to Man is the story of the quest to find the origins of the human race - a quest that spanned more than 150 years of obsessive searching The search for the origins of humanity is a story of bones and the tales they tell.

It was in 1856 that the first bones of an extinct human ancestor were encountered, unearthed by a crew of unskilled laborers digging for limestone in Western Europe. The find, which would be known as Neanderthal Man, was seeing the light of day for the first time in more than 40,000 years.

At the time, the concept of a previous human species was virtually unthinkable. Yet just a few years later, Charles Darwin's work The Origin of Species first broached the subject of evolution, and by the end of the nineteenth century, it had become the hottest topic of the age.

Adventurers had embarked on the search for the Missing Link, the single creature that represented the evolutionary leap from apes to humans. Ape to Man examines the major discoveries that have led us to the understanding we have today, including theories that never gained full acceptance in their time, an elaborate hoax that confused the scientific community for years, and the ultimate understanding of the key elements that separate man from apes.

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Mark Ford
2 years ago

A good reason y evolution trumps religions is to me quite simple we all know that children born through incest turn out disfigured etc so the bible says adam and eve who had children there sons and daughters who mustve had kids themselves and so on so obviously brothers and sisters plus then father daughter father niece mother nephew uncle nie ce aunty nephew etc etc humanity wud be a civilisation of monguls maybe thats were from history the monguls were named lol

6 years ago

Science rules what? ...those of limited information. It seems some people's faith in science never wanes as one would expect, upon continual failure of theory after theory, including Darwin's THEORY of evolution when disparate species cannot evolve into dissimilar species, they revert back or dead end like a mule; Einstein's speed of light maximum, where in the days of Tesla and now again particles are found to travel a fair bit faster than light, about 1.24x and what else aren't they seeing or haven't found yet?: the prior Second Law of Thermodynamics which has been converted to a new law to include Open Systems, about time since there is almost nothing that is a truly closed system, everything does not go to increased entropy, nature has order generating systems; that Homo Sapiens came after others when modern type man's foot prints have been found beside dinosaur tracks encased in volcanic/sediment from that time; and so on with other theories.

Might I suggest the excellent documentaries: "The Principle" (Interview of several cosmologists regarding newer findings about the Copernican principle of the planets rotation, alignment, and where we are in the universe) as well as "Is Genesis History?" a revealing look at what science has to say about it.

Real scientists, after slicing and dicing things as far as they can, often find what they were certain didn't exist. That there is indeed more to this existence than flesh and bone. Pseudo scientists hide results, pencil whip data, and present what their agenda was all along.

Those who put all their eggs exclusively in the science basket have to limit or disregard a great many things. I'm no fan of the misapplication of religion nor of the misapplication of science. Nor of the ego puffery virus that has infected both camps.

For all the hell on earth and killing done in the name of religion, how about science? Innocent or evil, all in the hands of the purveyor of each. Nuclear foolish, neutron bombs are just the ticket, save a building killing the undesirables. Enact rights and property robbing legislation via junk science to enslave the masses. Doctor the data, use erroneous models instead of empirical data, and too many believe it because they believe in "science". There are too many people so feed them GMO until they die. Great science. "My teacher taught me there is no such thing as perpetual motion because it would break the 2nd law of thermodynamics" except now it doesn't since we can obtain energy from the wheelwork of nature or the universe. Either that or the moon is not perpetually circling the earth. Oh yeah the science only folks will say that one day it will stop. Get a life, please. If not in my life time then it is perpetual enough for some other device to do some good, while "science" purveyors fool us into believing it cannot happen, even though it already has: Tesla, Neal, Keely, Wootan, Bearden, and many others. How many starve and freeze due to the science teachers that teach teachers to teach rubbish?

11 years ago

This short story of mine captures the moment when two of the most dominant species on the earth met for the first time - Neanderthal and Homosapian. Yet natures laws are stern, coalition is not conceivable, and there can only ever be one dominant species.

Enter Homosapian – the battle for mastery (short story)

Outside the cave the world was a savage place. The rules of life were simple; fight or be fought; eat or be eaten, kill or be killed – there was no love nor harmony, only a battle for survival. The Neanderthal stepped cautiously into the light, his eyes scanning the stretch of white trees that seemed to frown over the frozen river, ominously arching on either side. His stumpy legs shuffled forward onto the cave-lip, while the icy wind attacked and whipped against his body. The cruel world was signing out its call. Yet this was not a call of kindness, but instead, the malicious howl of nature in the lifeless struggle of an ice-age.

Almost every instinct screamed at the Neanderthal, telling him to return back to his lair to keep warm. Yet a deep stinging had spread over his mind over the last few days, until it screamed out in palpable pain; this was the sting of hunger.

After climbing down the slope that lead to his cave, he took shelter under a clump of pine trees near to the edge of the frozen river. Here the wind was calmer, as the shaggy branches acted as a shelter from the howling air. Looking up towards the powdery white boughs, he searched for signs of life.

The laws of the frozen wild are tough. The weaker creatures perish in the hostility, and without the qualities of cunning and wit, they soon become wiped out of existence. Yet, despite the savagery of the world, the strongest creatures always salvage survival – and with this audacious ability to remain alive, it comes with it, a canny ability to remain unseen. So the Neanderthal found nothing, not a single movement, nor a whisper amongst the trees. Hence he trudged on forward through the wilderness; his deep hunger gnawing incessantly inside.

As he searched on, he began to let his mind wander. It was a hopeful day dream, and it gave him great belief that he will finish the day with food. He thought of how his species alone is the only animal that is intuitive enough to enforce their strength through dead things. He did not resort to biting or scratching like the other animals in the frozen world. Instead, he had used the sturdiness of branches and the sharpness of rocks as a substitute for fangs and claws.

Snapping out of his reverie, the Neanderthal saw something shoot across a pillar of tress. It moved with a silent swiftness, disappearing into the wilderness before his eyes had time to fully adjust. Tightening the grip of his spear, the Neanderthal felt a rush of energy surge through him. Every colour intensified; every sound became more acute; every smell clearer.

There is a patience that marks dominance in the wild, and it is such patience that leads to survival. It is the persistence of the wolf as it entices its prey forward, never edging to close, yet never straying too far away. The wolf delays the attack long enough for the rest of the wolf-pack to arrive, where they then devour into the meaty flesh of the prey, ripping it open with savage victory.

This patience belonged to the Neanderthal as he stood in the forest, doggedly waiting for the slightest sign of the creature. And with such patience, he eventually saw it. Bright yellow eyes blinked within a spruce bush only a few meters ahead. He knew that with his weapon he could defeat any creature that inhabits the frozen land, and so he stared directly at the spot of where he knew the creature resided. A series of screams bellowed from the Neanderthals throat, and he waved his spear to show his readiness to fight. The creature responded with equal willingness, sliding its way through the leaves; its great white paws pressing into the snow; its two saber-tooth fangs glinting with ferocity.

In a flash, both Neanderthal and Saber-tooth tiger knew it. It was the time of death. The battle will reach a bloody end and only one creature will survive. Only one creature will get to chew on thick flesh of another, tasting their warm and bubbly blood. As they circled about the trees, snarling and assessing one another, patiently waiting for the right moment to strike, nature watched keenly. For over the vast whiteness, a ghostly silence brooded over the battle ground. The wind had stopped and mother earth peered down expectantly –waiting to see who was the most dominant and adaptive of her children.

With unimaginable speed, the tiger leapt forward into the air, its claws outstretched and its razor sharp teeth bearing brutality. Instinctively, the Neanderthal raised his spear out high in front of him, waiting for the Saber-tooth to land down and pierce into his weapon. Yet it never happened. Only centimetres before the belly of the tiger was from touching the Neanderthal’s spearhead, something struck from the side and pierced into the body of the tiger. The sheer speed and velocity of the intruding object knocked the tiger off course and it spun in the air, collapsing onto the earth in an awkward heap. The Neanderthal looked down in confusion, watching as the snowy ground changed into a slushy red while blood oozed out of its wound. Sticking into the tigers gut was another spear, yet it seemed oddly different. Unlike his which was fairly short and thick, this one was much longer and thinner. The Neanderthal then felt a surge of panic rush through him, yet it was nothing compared to the terror when he looked up and saw the intruder; it was then that the Neanderthal experienced the return of an old companion; fear.

The Neanderthal’s mind flashed a thousand memories as he tried to recall any previous encounter with such a creature – yet there was nothing. Instead, he scrutinised it with a reserved transfixion. At a distance, it looked strangely familiar to his species, yet when it moved closer, notable differences could be seen. It was taller than him, yet it possessed less sinew. Its skin was darker and less hair covered its body. The Neanderthals feet suddenly became locked onto the earth; frozen by fear. There was an instinct inside him that screamed at him to fight, yet a more rational predisposition told him to run. But the ancient companion of fear simply kept him locked there, and he remained in his spot, frozen and unable to move, much like the icy world around him.

The mysterious creature stopped only a few meters in front of him, and the Neanderthal stared into its deep and intelligent eyes. The spheres of its soul showed little savagery, but at the same time, a dominance and wisdom more powerful than anything he had ever witnessed before spoke within them.

Both creatures had no conscious knowledge of death, but like all animals in the wild, they acquired deaths instincts. Death represented itself as the greatest of pain, as the worst of all punishments, and the greatest mystery of the unknown. And it was in that moment, when Neanderthal and Homosapain stood face to face on the snowy stage for the very first time, that mother earth knew a sanguine battle for mastery would follow. Both species desired such mastery, yet the unforgiving laws of the wild will never allow it to be shared. Coalition was not conceivable. There will only ever be one winner; for that is the prime rule of nature.

11 years ago

I'm not going to entertain this garbage. The theory remains another kooky unproven idea of the psychopathic elites with no basis in history, nature or science. Defies common sense, logic, reason. We are as we are and are as we have always been. Yes, we have evolved in understanding yet our evoloution has been thwarted, disrupted and virtually derailed by a certain virus. The origins of this virus are a closely guarded mystery by the carriers; the carriers are known. So many are infected with the virus however, that they are paralysed when it comes to identifying and irradicating either the source or the carriers.

Angelica Guerrero
12 years ago

I like how they just kept finding skulls without contacting the authorities. Nowadays, there's so much red tape that if someone were to unearth a skull or skull fragment, they'd be locked up if they didn't contact the police. Just funny how much things have changed.

12 years ago

Oh boy, if we mix religion and science we get goofy results like mixing poetry and golf! The missing "links" in terms of all transitions fossils, will never be found (you have to die in a great location suitable for fossil forming before all the other animals and microbes eat your remains! lol) BUT the actual missing links in terms of ACTUAL molecular information lives in all of us: it`s called DNA. When you sequence it, we can symbolize it all with millions of letters...all in exact million over million bits of detail...and we see the EXACT overlap with ALL common ancestry. It cannot be denied. No matter if Christian, Muslim, Jew or Atheist does the DNA sequencing... the results are the same. We are mere animals. Smart ones, but just animals. So be kind to your kin. And remember, if you don`t believe this...perhaps we should let all the thousands of rapists and sex offenders out of prison, `cuz we convict them based on their relative ancestry to other living things! Welcome to reality. I`m sure glad the Church does not kill people...cuz they certainly would not use DNA to convict ya!

12 years ago

We're quite lucky to have fossil evidence at all! A gap in the fossil record does not equate to a lack of evidence for evolution. Modern genetics has contributed a staggering amount of evidence for evolution and the genetic evidence alone is more than enough for most scientists.
However, if you still require an unbroken chain of fossils to turn your mind over to evolution, you can look at Diatoms.
The record of Diatoms evolving is quite complete, and you can actually walk down a hallway in a museum with pictures of Diatoms and see each stage in their evolution.

12 years ago

@ Ian
we may never even find all of them, there simply may not be a preserved skeleton of all the ancient apes

Why not?

12 years ago

there is more than one "missing link". in fact there are quite a few of them. they are constantly finding "missing links" but there are always more. its will be a loong time before we find all of them. or we may never even find all of them, there simply may not be a preserved skeleton of all the ancient apes

12 years ago

The missing link is still missing... and it will stay that way... missing. Even if scientist will unearthed something... the missing link will always be missing. Hence, missing link.

12 years ago

Hmm Could be wrong about the heated debates. Ignorance is bliss as they say!

12 years ago

Can't wait for the heated debates on this one!

@fernando tabing - does the earth need us to "run" it? Funny, I thought we were raping it for all it's worth!

And I reckon you'll get a few bible bashers telling you exactly who the supreme being is! lol

fernando tabing
13 years ago

i therefore conclude that we had different ancestor and the time of research and technology will find the answer and for me its in the next hundreds of years of human intelligence that makes it more closer to why we became the supreme being here on earth.
just imagine if we humans are not the supreme being, there is no second being to run the world as we do.our uniqueness are million years ahead to the other life evolve in the planet.
we are human beings to be given the chance to find answers not only from where we came from but to understand the flow of universe in thousand of years more to come.
the answer is not in this present time but in the next hundred years or more.

Achems Razor
13 years ago

An Ape:

You are right! I stand corrected.

Scientists say a 4.4-million-year fossil called Ardi-short for ardipithecus ramidus- is descended from the "missing link" or the least common ancestor between humans and apes.

An Ape
13 years ago

@Achems Razor, no, Chimpanzees did not evolve from humans, nor does that article say that. Humans and Chimpanzees share a common ancestor. Even if Ardipithecus Ramidus is the common ancestor of humans and chimps (Which it is not), Ardi is not a human, it is an ardipithecus ramidus.