Anthropology deals with one species only, or, alternatively, with several closely related ones. It makes no difference to us today whether the so called human races are considered to be varieties of the same species or separate species; the question is of no scientific significance. It is quite sufficient to know that human “races”, so different in appearance, are in fact so similar to each other that they can produce descendants, and that this process includes a number of transitional stages. Anthropology, however, offers something even more important for the inductive verification of Darwinism than this relevant information (Fleagle,. and Ciochon, 1987, p.143).
This paper is based on natural selection, and in order to apply it to apes and human, a naturalist must have very detailed information on various factors involved in the transformation of species. However such requirement can only be met by the science of man. Indeed, while it took such an effort on Darwin’s part to collect the most general and superficial facts on the birth rate and sex of domestic animals. This paper also sought to stress the importance of human studies on the general theory of the origin of species.
Prior to the publication of Darwin and Wallace, their followers Huxley and Vogt (5) attempted to apply Darwinism to the origin of man, but their aims were simply to show that humans, like other organisms, are related to simpler organisms like apes and the like. In line with this, conflict avoidance and reconciliation behaviors figure importantly in the lives of all apes and monkeys, and the evolution of these most complex of social interactions offers an insight into the origins of human nature.
On the other hand, according to Jared Diamond’s book, Diamond not only reviewed the biological evidence that humans differ by only the smallest genetic margin from chimpanzees, but also intimated that other characteristics once thought to separate us, such as the manufacture and use of tools, were, in fact, traits that we all shared. The deeper we look into chimp and bonobo society, the more similarities we find with human behaviors. It’s just that the expression of these behaviors in humans is a quantum leap ahead of the other two chimpanzees.
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Diamond in his book further noted that “common sense indicates that behaviors shared by the gorilla and all three chimps likely evolved early on in ape evolution, whereas those shared only by humans and chimpanzees evolved more recently”. The evolutionary lineages of chimpanzees and humans split apart before those of the common chimps and bonobos; so the behaviors that humans and common chimps share can be considered ancestral for bonobos. Bonobos can be seen as a natural laboratory for studying convergent evolution—many of the anatomical and behavioral traits that they do not share with common chimps must have evolved in parallel to the human lineage (Jablonski, 2002).
Similarities between humans and apes has long been an important issue, discussed by many well-known naturalists, however, lesson was maintaining that with regard to their general constitution, apes are much more closer to humans than to other animals; and it is only in their mental and judgmental abilities that they are far behind humans. Apes are indistinguishable from humans as far as their constitution and function of organs are concerned. Many researchers admit that “an orangutan brain differs from brain of other apes, but resembles a human one in many amazing details”,
The physical organization of humans and the higher apes was almost identical; furthermore humans can be justified in a separate systematic position based solely on psychological difference.
Unlike our Victorian socialite, many people today can accept our close relatedness to chimpanzees and bonobos with equanimity. The similarities of conflict avoidance and resolution shown by the three chimpanzees bear remarkable witness to the importance of reducing tension and mitigating aggression in ape and human societies (Jablonski, 2002).
Over an estimated six million years, humans have evolved from bipedal apes to become the most potent manipulators of the environment that our planet has ever seen. As we reflect on this, we should also realize that the ability to empathize is one of our most highly developed behaviors—and who is more deserving of this precious human quality than our closest relatives? As we shrink their habitats through logging, and kill them for meat, chimpanzees and bonobos, with whom we share so much DNA and culture, are disappearing rapidly (Jablonski, 2002). A world without our two nearest relatives would be a lonely place, devoid of our evolutionary companions, the animals that shed light on our own beginnings. Let us work toward keeping them and our ties to our ancient past, alive.
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