Discussion in 'The Science Forum' started by biffins-bridge, Jan 28, 2012.

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  1. Just watched Rise of the Planet of the Apes. (Good film imo)

    I have two questions which I'm sure have very simple answers.

    a) if man evolved from primates via various stages evolution, why are there still primates?

    b) because there are still primates why are the other stages in evolution (homo erectus etc) not still around?
  2. a) They likely became tucker
    b) They did not
  3. As I understand it, primates and home sapiens had common ancestors many millions of years ago, but went down separate paths, so primates will never "evolve" into homo sapiens but will always be primates - they're a different branch. As for homo erectus, I guess they became extinct as so many other species did, and homo sapiens won through (survival of the fittest).

    I expect someone to come along with a much more scientific answer soon!!

    (By primates I mean all the others, apes etc. not man, who is also of course a primate)
  4. Noah would never have let anything as suspiciously named as Homo Erectus on the Ark. How those constantly rutting AC/DC Bonobos snuck past a stern Biblical patriarch will defeat believers in intelligent design.
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  5. Evolution is a continuing process, species that nature deems surplus to requirements will go extinct. This could also mean that species left alone long enough will evolve in to other species/sub species. Problem here is that Homo Sapiens are making species extinct faster than they can evolve, consequently the balance has been thrown all to cock.

    This also means that Humans are the subject of evolution as well, it has already been floated that the Human species will sub divide in to 2 separate sub species, one a highly intelligent and athletic the other sub intelligent and rotund.

  6. The way I gather it Homoerectus gave rise to about 5 different sub species the 4 of which became extinct, the strongest* was Homosapien of which has thrived by exploiting and adapting it's enviroment rather than adapting TO it's enviroment, giving a galactic leap** forwrd to our evolution.
    Long slender bodies mean we can run, oposable strong thumbs for tool making, Planet of the Apes is good telly but implausable, apes have massive strength however very weak thumbs, to the point that they need both hands to grip even fruit to eat.
    Our brains are also a lot more complex and capable. Tool making isn't the preserve of Homininds however cooking food meant the diet was far broader pallete and the ability to move out of a single narrow strip of Africa.

    * strong evolutionary not physically
    ** 75,000 yrs is a blink of an eye evoltutionary wise.
  7. The way things are going more likely into the uber-nerdy (mostly asian and stick thin) and the retarded rest.
  8. You might as well ask why there is more than one species on the planet. After all, we all share the same common ancestor if you go far enough back.

    Simply put, they're still around because they can be. There's an ecologic niche for them to survive in.
  9. And we appear to have been very lucky to avoid extinction after that, if the DNA wonks are correct that nearly happened as we seem to be descended from a population of barely viable size, just a few hundred souls.
  10. Evolution is a dynamic process nerdy brainboxes have their place but attraction and finding a sexual partner are still based on out primative selves, some examples are boobs and hips on women, actually subconciously define a fertile woman. Same goes for males in tall broard shoulders and slim hips (Upside down triangle).
  11. I believe at certain point Homosapien were down to about 2-3000 about 75,000 years ago. Scattered very sporadically largest group seems to be about 30/40.
  12. Why not all the primates evolved, it works like this:

    "Oi Phil, were going down town, to do a bit of evolving like, are you coming?"

    "No mate, I want to watch baywatch!"
  13. Trans-sane

    Trans-sane LE Book Reviewer

    As previously mentioned evolution likes playing the odds. If a new habitat opens up (as happened in Africa millions of years ago when the forrests started to recede) then various species will take advantage of the new place to live (and the hopefully less competition from established species of the OLD habitat).

    The conventional wisdom is that all other primates and homsap shared a common ancestor at some point prior to the evolution of Australopithecus (upright ape). The theory being apes decended from the tress to the plains and scrublands. Walking upright on two legs is more energy efficient that knuckle-walking like chimps and the like. Random mutations resulted in Australopithecus, which had an immediate advantage over other species of ground living apes. In times of hard-ship less likely to starve, in times of plenty more able to out-breed the competition. Those species that had remained arboreal in habitat evolved down a separate pathway.

    Austrolapithacus however now had a secure habitat and an energy surplas that ANOTHER series of random mutations started down the track of developing the bigger brain that the various species of the homo genus. It must be pointed out however that for every random mutation that had a beneficial effect there must have been thousands that didn't pay off and were left on the roadside as failed experiments.

    As for there not being any other species from the genus homo any longer than our own homo sapiens sapiens, there are a few theories:-

    1/ The chinese people (and those of similar external racial features like the Japanese, Koreans, Mongolians etc.) were not in fact decendents of homsap following the out of africa event but were in fact decendent of homo habilis that experienced and exodus much sooner. This theory however has been massively discredited by the invention of molecular genetics and its use in forensics and anthropology and is no longer considered credible by any REAL scientist.

    2/ In Northern Europe and Central Asia, Neanderthal man (regarded by some as a subspecies of Homo sapiens) was assimilated by MODERN Homo sapiens- thus leading to our generally broader and more robust skeletal and muscle structure and other traits such as ginger hair- as they had a small but significant impact on our expressed phenotypes.

    3/ Homo sapiens emerged from Africa into the habitats already inhabitted by Homo Neanderthalensis (note Neanderthals are considered a separate species). Once in direct competition Homo sapiens nearly always had a massive advantage conferred by another chance mutation, this one involving brain chemistry. The thought being that we had a much great capacity for critical thinking and innovation, and this combined with language allowed us to adapt quicker and better than Neanderthals and thus out-competed them for limited resources required for survival.

    Both theories 2 and 3 are still in play. There is evidence both for and against both BUT accademics being accademics there seems to be a massive argument going on... There is molecular DNA evidence AGAINST homsap and neanderthals breeding as well as inferred behavioral theories (mitochondrial DNA studies indicate radically differing evolutionary pathways in terms of TIME, the Neanderthal "ginger" gene appears to be different to that found in modern man, lack of any neanderthal "artwork" until very late in the overlap with homsap in Northern Europe, lack of any evidence of trading of ideas between separate communities). However there is also evidence FOR as well. Recent discoveries of fertile "hybrids" of homsap and neanderthal would require neanderthal being deffinatively reclassified as a sub-species OR the re-wording of what a species actually IS (must be able to produce fertile offspring-however weird). Another thought... Does that mean that there is more than one species of dog? Afterall is it possible for a great dane and a minature poodle to produce fertile offspring or is it flat-out impossible due to being mechanically or genetically incapable of breeding (don't try this at home. Its HAS to constitute animal cruelty trying it out)?
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  14. So in Europe in the Pleistocene era you've got a bunch of slow moving thick gingers sitting around on their arses and then some more agile Somalians who are not fussy about who they shag blow in and wreck the place. It's Wolverhampton on a Saturday night innit. Weirdly like something Elijah Muhammad might have come up with to explain whitey.
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  15. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer

    Walking upright means you can see what's coming after you earlier. It also means you can carry things (or small people). We are really a quite extraordinary species if you look at what we can do in the way of distance running or channel swimming or pearl diving or living at altitude if we train for it. Or even, like the Tierra del Fuegans, living naked in an appalling climate.

    The thumb is vital - however long you trained it a chimp could never darn a sock, let alone emulate Carl Faberge.

    Another vital element is the physical ability to articulate speech. There is some evidence that Neanderthals could only do this more slowly and less effectively.

    There is a theory that Neanderthals could make a spear and stick something with it, but could not throw as we can. In Western Australia the early British settlers were uncomfortably surprised at how far and how accurately the original locals could do just that.

    Too often people make the mistake of thinking that we are cleverer than (say) Stone Age people. Not so, I think: they lacked all the technological advances we have made and still got by, but with a totally different skill set including what must have been a very detailed understanding of the natural world that threatened them on every side, and a need to find food otherwise than in Tesco.
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