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Humanity’s Place in Evolution
Evolution’s Place in Humanity
By: Merritt Goodman, JoAnna Piscitello,
Richard Robinson, Aaron McKinney,
Elizabeth Jasperse
The Gossiping Ape
Richard Robinson
Humans are a very social creatures.
As a society we form everything from
nations to tribes to clubs/organization
The History of the African Guess
In the 1860s Darwin began comparing humans
to great apes.
From this comparison, Darwin noticed a close
resemblance between the two anatomies.
This led Darwin to his “African Guess” in 1871.
Evolution Stages (cont.)
Stage 1: pushed the ancestors out of the
forest and onto the African savannas (5
million years ago)
Stage 2: Invention of the first stone tools
(2.5 million years ago)
Stage 3: Massive hand axes were being
constructed (1.5 million years ago)
Stage 4: Mastery of fire and formation of
spears and other tools (.5 million years ago)
Stage 5: Cave paintings, jewelry, more
cultural activities (50,000 years ago)
Wandering Evolution
As our ancestors
moved through these
transitions, they began
to change habitats.
As the habitats
changed, the way we
moved adapted as did
our diets.
These changes also
affected the
anatomy of the
Wandering (cont.)
About 2.5 million years ago,
the first known homo
 these homos were the
first to have features like
opposable thumbs and big
 the first homo had a 50%
larger brain than the
hominids, relative to their
body size
At this point all traces of
tree climbing were gone.
This homo is known as Homo
ergaster and is the first
warrant the title: human
Evolving a Theory of Mind
Studies show that chimps have an
understanding of some basic facts.
These studies also show that the
common ancestor of humans and chimps
could not understand that they all had
As the habitat changed, bigger social
groups began forming.
Some scientists suggest that the most
basic behavior of hominids is the
ability to find a mate
Even a more select group believes that
we are still ruled by the same
behaviors today
Not So Happily Ever After
A male– many offspring; a
female is limited
As a result certain
qualities are sought
According to David Buss,
UT psychologist, women
prefer older men and men
prefer younger women
(Zimmer 278)
Ian Penton Voak of St
Andrews Univ. did a face
test to find which type is
more attractive to women
Are You Cheating On Me?
No obvious signal that lets people know
that their mate is cheating
The thought of sexual betrayal makes a
man’s heart beat 5 extra times a
minutes (equivalent to 3 cups of coffee)
Toward Language
As hominid bands expanded, their
complexity grew as well
Language is not a product of evolution
Simply another way to express our
alliances with one another
The Dawn of Us
In the Beginning…
4.5 billion years ago
3.85 billion years ago
250 million years ago
600,000 years ago common ancestor
of human species evolved
• Between 200,000-100,000-biologically
modern humans evolved in Africa
• 50,000 years ago-left Africa and
replaced all other human species.
Old Theory of Evolution
• Claims that modern human evolution began a
million years ago.
• A single human species, homo erectus, lived in
Africa and spread throughout the world.
• Different regions continued to mate with one
another so that no one group fragmented into
another species.
• They evolved distinguished characteristics in
relation to climate and eventually become
modern humans within their particular region.
New Theory of Evolution
Homo Erectus
-Two distinct species neither was the ancestor of
the Homo Sapiens.
-After a proposal that modern humans actually
evolved out of African immigrants and that the
three groups were actually distinct species, Allan
Wilson analyzed mitochondrial DNA to
determine different lineages.
-Wilson discovers Africa is the source of the
common ancestor of living humans.
-“Mitochondrial Eve”-common African ancestor
estimated somewhere in the neighborhood of
200,000 years old.
-Scientists began formulating theory called “Out
of Africa”
“Out of Africa”
• As Homo spread out of Africa, it evolved into many distinct
species that didn’t breed with one another.
• Homo erectus-Asia
Homo neanderthalensis- Europe and Near East
• While these species spread, Homo sapiens begin to evolve
from older hominids back in Africa.
• Homo sapiens then began to spread to Asia and Europe.
• All other human species become extinct and homo sapiens
Cultural Evolution
• Something occurs, possibly population boom, that causes
homo sapiens to invent modern tools and art, more
advanced than that of the other homo species. (Brain
• When Homo sapiens spread to the Homo erectus, the
resident hominids may have pulled back into the inland
jungles to find refuge.
• Culture continues to evolve. For example: language,
airplanes, music, mathematics, cooking, technology.
• Because people are spreading and mixing, it may be very
hard for natural selection to produce much change.
Evolution in modern humans has slowed drastically.
• Zimmer discusses the possibility of computers evolving an
intelligence like our own and perhaps even a