The evolution of man, primate; chimp reading a book illustrationScience 

The evolution of man, or the result of millions of years of natural selection

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Originally seeded with hostile doubters and a scientific community in disarray over the meaning behind it, natural selection, and the origin of man became a hot topic after Charles Darwin published his first manuscripts on the subject almost 200 years ago. Met with mixed reviews, the evolution of man as theorized by Darwin explained that we had evolved from primates, and he strived to prove it until his eventual death. Although it wasn’t the initial observation regarding natural section within the animal kingdom that raised concern, his theory about our own evolution did, as it was made during a time where science and religion were fairly close.

Human Common Ancestors* Illustration PD-US
Human Common Ancestors* Illustration PD-US

His findings were examined by many era biologists who eventually decided to pursue his line of research, despite their beliefs being contrary to the school of thought that was being employed. As time passes, more and more scientists and anthropologists have since taken up his research, eventually creating an evolutionary timeline that stretches millions of years, with several of our ancestors highlighted along the way.

Neanderthal ancestor (caveman)
Neanderthal Ancestor (caveman); Stone Age

From the relatively well known Neanderthals to the somewhat lesser known Cro Magnon that are all still a part of our genetic makeup as well as being an integral part of our history. Although there do exist some gaps within this timeline, and there are certain remains of previous ancestors that remain to be identified or properly placed within our evolution, it is a well-established fact that our evolution came as a result of natural selection – something that was deemed as being incredulous during Darwin’s time.

Even more interesting however, is the biodiversity that is expressed across humankind as a result of this natural selection. The different pressure in the various climate types our ancestors were exposed to have left many populations with their own distinctive and unique traits, with new research suggesting there was at one point more than one humanoid species living at the same time and space on Earth.

This would not only account for certain particular physical traits, but also some genetic ones, as scientists have begun to increasingly genes unique to certain peoples, a remnant of ancestors past. Whilst we are all humans, it is our own genetic makeup, an inheritance from our ancestors that makes us unique. It took millions of years of adaptation for these traits to form, affecting not only our appearance, but having a say in our history, sociology and culture to the point we find ourselves in the present moment.

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