What Is the Theory of Human Evolution and What Evidence Appears to Substantiate the Theory?

Topics: Human evolution, Human, Culture Pages: 4 (1554 words) Published: April 30, 2012
Evolution is defined as “any process of progressive change”; and the theory is complex life forms from our time have descended from earlier ones that existed long ago (Hunt, p.29). The theory of evolution was first made popular by Charles Darwin an English Biologist, he spent a good amount of his time trying to find evidence to support his many ideas. It is believed that the human species has its origins in Africa. Scientists share the belief that a human like creature originated from the apes and over time, through many changes the final result was a group of hominids, they do however disagree on when and why the different characteristics begun begun to show themselves. It had been discovered that humans and the other primates do have some differences, for one humans have a larger brain, we walk on two legs, go through a longer periods childhood and juvenile life stages, we have the ability to speak and to form culture (Parker, p.3). Evolution occurs through a series of processes, including sexual reproduction and mutation, where some more desirable traits may be passed on to the next generation either by chance or natural selection. Natural selection played a major role in the understanding of evolution, it meant that individuals that have traits more favorable to adapting to its environment are more likely to survive and pass on those traits to their offspring. This led to the notion of “survival of the fittest”. The trait selected to move on showed up in the next generation and defines which direction evolution will take. Over time the theory of evolution has grown to include findings that were discovered from other scientists, between the 1970’s and 1990’s fossils were found, they had smaller brains, long arms, short legs and did not use stone tools and they were known as australopithecines. Also between 1992 and 2002 more fossils were dug up that predated the australopithecines, making scientist re-evaluate their earlier theories (Parker, p.9). Our...

Cited: Hunt, Elgon F. and Colander, David C. Social Science: An Introduction to the Study of Society. 14th Ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2011.
Parker, Sue Taylor and Jaffe, Karin Enstam. Darwin’s Legacy: Scenarios in Human Evolution. Maryland: Atamira Press, 2008.
Longhurst, Brian et al. Introducing Cultural Studies. 2nd Ed. England: Pearson Longman, 2008.
Department of Anthropology. Anthropological Theories: A Guide Prepared by Student for Student. University of Alabama. 2009. Web. 3 March 2012.
“Cultural Evolutionism.” Sociology Guide. Web. 2011. 3 March 2012.
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