Apes And Humans Essay, Research Paper
APES AND HUMANS
Humans have always been fascinated by other apes. Perhaps it is because we are the only animals that are conscious of our place in evolution. The similarities other apes and us share are obvious, and different cultures have been aware of this bond since millennia. But there is also the idea that God created the Earth and all around and in it. I m not a person that is very religious, but I can t believe that we the theory that we come from apes.
Evolutionary design of man has lead anthropologists to travel the world in search of fossil evidence to learn who we have evolved from. Human evolution began roughly 5-10 million years ago when the human line split from the apes. Slowly scientists have tried to put the pieces together to give us an idea of our evolutionary line.(Charlon).
In Mesopotamia, monkeys were cult animals sacred to some god (Weitz 124).
Moreover, it is not difficult to find all around the world myths such as the one that describes apes as being a human figure that a god was making out of clay which slipped out of his hands and hence got a tail. Therefore, the question shouldn t really be what makes other apes and humans similar, but actually, what are the differences between us. To get a sense of our origins we must be able to separate primate characteristics from the traits that are unique to our lineage (Weitz 231).
Let s take a person, strip him, put him in a cage next to a gorilla or an orang-utan, and ask ourselves: What makes of us humans a weird, different type of ape?. The first obvious difference, starting our analysis from head to toes, is the cranial capacity. Our head is much bigger compared to the body and our brain weighs much more. This is due to the fact humans have a highly developed intelligence, (being, in fact the most intelligent animal on Earth). This has allowed us impressive communication techniques; the development of tools, (from stone artifacts in the Paleolithic to a nuclear bomb); and the possibility to understand to a certain extent our condition on Earth and the natural process that take place in our environment (Charlon 45).
The next obvious difference is the lack of bodily hair in humans. Compared to a gorilla or to a gibbon we are practically bald and naked. We have learned to change the characteristics of our environment, (such as temperature and humidity), by using tools, but other apes still live under conditions that include rain, cold, thorns. Hair is therefore a useful protection that humans no longer need (Charlon 60).
If we continue going down the head, we will find that humans jaws are not as robust; they are lighter and straighter, (giving us the peculiar characteristic of having a chin). Our teeth have shrunk backwards and lost special characteristics used by apes to chew leaves or eat fruits. Lips in man are poor in fat, and the upper lip shows a central furrow, (the philtrum) running down from the nasal septum to the edge of the membranous lip, the boundary which is elevated at the edges of this furrow (Hooton 56).
SHARED ERRORS IN THE DNA OF HUMANS AND APES
Science has always been a big problem for the religion, there always has been controversy about the creation of the world and how we were created. Have we evolved from the monkeys or did God created us???
It always has been claimed that there are shared errors in the DNA between humans and apes, and that this shows that humans and apes must have a common ancestor, because the Lord would not have inserted common errors in their DNA (Plaisted).
These errors are generally in the form of pseudogenes, which are genes that have lost their function for some reason, often because control sequences around them are not present. Here are some thoughts about these shared errors in DNA. The following material has extensively been modified since Edward Max’s first response to it:
1. At first glance, this appears to be a strong argument for evolution. Indeed, I found it troubling for a while.
2. However, we are still learning, and it is hard to know when a part of the DNA is beneficial or harmful. How do we know for sure what is an error?
3. Mutations are not completely random.
4. Maybe the Lord inserted those similarities for a reason we do not understand.
5. Another possibility is that the Lord, when he cursed Adam and Eve after the fall, also cursed all life by introducing errors into the DNA
6. Edward Max’s argument is based on the fact that these shared sequences are really errors, that is, mistakes.
7. Something has to appear in the nonfunctional part of the DNA. Why should it be one thing rather than another.
8. Let us consider humans and apes. Since they are so similar, one would expect that they had many similar genes at the creation in similar locations in the genetic material.
9. It is even possible that the lack of ability to synthesize vitamin C could be an advantage in certain situations, although this appears unlikely.
10. Before being created, life was an idea in the mind of God (Plaisted) .
HUMAN SKELETAL AND DENTAL ANATOMY
Humans are contrasted with chimpanzees to illustrate the unique features of our anatomy.
Seven major differences between humans and chimpanzee skulls include:
(1) brain volume — The human skull has a three -fold greater endocranial volume – reflecting a larger brain size, about 1200 cc in human and about 400 cc in chimpanzees.
(2) nuchal crests — Muscles that attach to the cranial base serve to position, move, and stabilize the head and cervical vertebrae.
(3) mastoid process — The human mastoid process, the attachment surface of the sternocleidomastoid muscles, is distinct and separated from the outline of the occiput by a digastric fossa.
(4) premaxilla — The smaller human incisivum, a homologue of the chimpanzee premaxilla, unites with the maxilla near the time of birth. The chimpanzee premaxilla is expanded to support the large and forward projecting incisors. It unites with the maxilla postnatally and the suture between it and the maxilla becomes obliterated.
(5) facial prognathism — The projection of the face beyond the calvaria is greater in chimpanzees than humans.
(6) chin — The human mandible is reinforced by a bar of bone, the mental protuberance, that strengthens the symphysis, the union of right and left halves of the bone.
7) hyoid — The human hyoid is a U-shaped bone just above the larynx (Formenti 21) .
When did humans evolve? Who are our ancestors? Why did we evolve? At the turn of the century, scientists could only dream about finding the answers to these questions. The fossilized remains of a species known as Neanderthal had been found, and there was a primitive, human-like skull that had been discovered in Indonesia. Beyond that, there was little hard evidence to work with.
With the 1912 “discovery” of the Piltdown Man, the study of human evolution was sent down a wrong track. When the phony Piltdown Man, with its human skull and orangutan’s jaw, was finally exposed in 1953, the pieces of the great puzzle began to fall into place. With the experts’ opinions no longer skewed, the relationship between the real fossils started to make sense.
There have been many discoveries, and much has been learned about the human odyssey over the past few decades. Many questions, however, still remain(WGBH) .
“THE AFFINITIES of all the beings of the same class have sometimes been represented by a great tree. I believe this simile largely speaks the truth. The green and budding twigs may represent existing species; and those produced during each former year may represent the long succession of extinct species. The limbs divided into great branches, and these into lesser and lesser branches, were themselves once, when the tree was small, budding twigs; and this connexion of the former and present buds by ramifying branches may well represent the classification of all extinct and living species in groups subordinate to groups. From the first growth of the tree, many a limb and branch has decayed and dropped off, and these lost branches of various sizes may represent those whole orders, families, and genera which have now no living representatives, and which are known to us only from having been found in a fossil state. As buds give rise by growth to fresh buds, and these, if vigorous, branch out and overtop on all a feebler branch, so by generation I believe it has been with the Tree of Life, which fills with its dead and broken branches the crust of the earth, and covers the surface with its ever branching and beautiful ramifications (Darwin).
RELIGION AND EVOLUTION
Religion is an explanation of who created all forms of life. There are two basic exclusive explanations :
God (creationism) or an accident (evolution theory).
Believers are people that believe there is some evidence to prove that a religion is true. There are two types of believers :
True (without doubts) and partial (with doubts). Believers without doubts are those who believe there’s no evidence to prove that his or her religion is impossible. From my definitions we conclude that partial believers might believe in more than one religion. Evidence proving that a particular religion is impossible leads (logically) to abandoning that religion(Terravista) .
65-54 mya proto-prosimians North America & Europe.
EOCENE, 54-37 mya prosimians North American & Europe
OLIGOCENE, 37-24 mya Aegyptopithecus Fayum, Egypt
MIOCENE, 24-5 mya Proconsul Dryopiths
Africa, some Europe
Europe, some Africa
5-1.8 mya Australopithecines develop in Africa, in various places primitive:
A. ramidus, 4.4 mya E. Africa Ethiopia, Kenya
Australopithecines: A. afarensis, 4-3 mya
Lucy, Laetoli footprints
A. africanus, 3-2 mya
Taung child E. Africa Ethiopia, Kenya
Paranthropines: P. aethiopicus, 2.8-2.2 mya
P. robustus, 2.5-1 mya
P. boisei, 2.5-1 mya E. Africa Kenya, Ethiopia
South Africa & E. Africa
Development of the Genus Homo; early Homo: H. habilis, H.habilis & A. africanus
H. rudolfensis, 2.4-1.5 mya
East Africa (Callahan).
1.8 mya – 10 kya H. erectus, 1.8 mya-400 kya
Africa, Europe, and Asia (Callahan).
The Australopithecine are the oldest of all the Hominids (Yahoo).
In 1974, the famous Lucy, named that because it’s female, a skeleton that was 3 to 3.5 million years old was found in eastern Africa. It is the oldest skeleton ever discovered and it belonged to the group A.(for Australopithecus) afarensis (Yahoo).
Shorter than today’s humans they stood 5 feet tall A.(for Australopithecus again) africanus, a younger group than A. afarensis, lived between 2.2 million and 4 million years ago. They were larger than afarensis and weighed a more too (Yahoo).
A. robustus and A. boisei. Both found in Africa, these two lived between 1 million and 2 million years ago. They had heavier skulls and larger back teeth than A. africanus.
The Homo habilis, or the handy human, were around about 1.6 to 2 million years ago. They also used tool to survive (Yahoo).
H.(that’s for Homo) erectus, means upright human, looked more like humans than any of the previous groups. They lived .5 to 1.6 million years ago. They built fires to cook their food and used stone tools to help them (Yahoo).
H. sapiens are modern day humans, chances are that you belong to this group. They stand at an average height of 5 feet 8 inches tall. Taller than any previous groups (Yahoo).
CHIMPANZEES AND HIV
Do Chimpanzees get HIV and AIDS?
Chimpanzees resist the AIDS symptoms, and some of them even reject the virus. This means that they have been exposed to the virus for a long time (Hahn’s recent findings) and have developed a genetic immunity to it. They do not carry HIV, and when infected they do not die, they have adapted to it over time (CHCI).
Do Chimpanzees make good subjects for HIV/AIDS research?
Given the natural protection their species has developed, they would make terrible subjects to test vaccines on. If you inject a chimpanzee with a vaccine you will not know whether the vaccine protected them or it was their own natural immunity. You will get “false positives” and run the risk of testing useless vaccines on humans (CHCI).
Given that Chimpanzees are our genetic “Next of Kin” shouldn’t more research be done?
This new information should be used to stop all xeno-transplant research. We do not know what virus a primate might be carrying that is benign to them but lethal to us (CHCI).
How could people get HIV/AIDS from Chimpanzees?
You cannot get HIV from just anyone, chimpanzee or human. You can only get HIV from a human or Chimpanzee who has been infected with HIV. Having an immunity to a virus is not the same as being infected with it. The so-called bushmeat trade could be a potential transmission vector to spread a virus, which is benign to its host species, but lethal for us. The bushmeat trade must be discouraged as a health risk (CHCI).
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