AnthropologyHuman evolutionand Timeline of human evolution The genus Homo evolved and diverged from other hominins in Africa, after the human clade split from the chimpanzee lineage of the hominids great apes branch of the primates.
Introduction Evolution itself is simply the process of change over time. When applied to biology, evolution generally refers to changes in life forms over time. The Theory of Biological Evolution is most often associated with Charles Darwin, because it was Charles Darwin that proposed the mechanism of natural selection and accompanied that proposition with a large volume of empirical data providing evidence for biological evolution.
Darwin was not, however, the first person to propose an evolutionary explanation for the diversity of life on earth. In fact, evolutionary concepts about life date far back into history and arose in many different cultures.
Origin Mythology There are literally thousands of different mythological stories about the origin of the world and of life. There are several common themes in origin mythology, but there are many different means by which the universe, earth, life, and man have come into being throughout the various different origin myths.
The importance and role of origin mythology has varied widely from culture to culture throughout history as well. In many archaic cultures origin mythology was not central to the belief system, nor were the origin myths fully thought-out to a logical conclusion.
In societies that did not have writing, origin myths, like all of the other myths, were passed down orally, and often served as a form of entertainment as well as a means of passing on beliefs that were important to the society.
When looking at origin myths from around the world several patterns can be observed. The origin myths of pre-agricultural societies tend to place humans and animals in close relations, while the origin myths of agricultural societies tend describe a separate creation of humans.
Some of the beliefs about humans and animals that are expressed in various origin myths include beliefs that: Among more technologically advanced societies, where separation between humans and other animals was more pronounced and where humans had domesticated animals, themes such as the domination of man over animals, the separate creation of man from animals, and the creation of animals for the use of man are common themes in origin mythology.
Australian Aboriginal culture is thought to be the oldest continuous culture in the world, due to the isolation of the Australian continent. Below is one telling of Aboriginal Australian origin mythology.
In the beginning the earth was a bare plain. There was no life, no death. The sun, the moon, and the stars slept beneath the earth.
All the eternal ancestors slept there, too, until at last they woke themselves out of their own eternity and broke through to the surface. When the eternal ancestors arose, in the Dreamtime, they wandered the earth, sometimes in animal form - as kangaroos, or emus, or lizards -- sometimes in human shape, sometimes part animal and human, sometimes as part human and plant.
Two such beings, self-created out of nothing, were the Ungambikula. Wandering the world, they found half-made human beings.
They were made of animals and plants, but were shapeless bundles, lying higgledy-piggledy, near where water holes and salt lakes could be created. The people were all doubled over into balls, vague and unfinished, without limbs or features. With their great stone knives, the Ungambikula carved heads, bodies, legs, and arms out of the bundles.
They made the faces, and the hands and feet. At last the human beings were finished. Thus every man and woman was transformed from nature and owes allegiance to the totem of the animal or the plant that made the bundle they were created from -- such as the plum tree, the grass seed, the large and small lizards, the parakeet, or the rat.
This work done, the ancestors went back to sleep. Some of them returned to underground homes, others became rocks and trees.
The trails the ancestors walked in the Dreamtime are holy trails. Everywhere the ancestors went, they left sacred traces of their presence -- a rock, a waterhole, a tree. For the Dreamtime does not merely lie in the distant past, the Dreamtime is the eternal Now.
In many Native American and Asian mythologies there is no specific creator god or act of creation, instead the world is said to have formed out of chaos, and the development of life is said to be a product of some spirit force.
This spirit force is often said in these belief systems to be ever-present and continually acting. Native American mythology generally presents humans and animals as being related and having common ancestry. Many different Native American cultures discovered and interpreted fossils and integrated the knowledge of fossils into their origin mythology.
Various origin myths can be identified as having come from Asia, but origin mythology has not held an important role in Asia for many centuries.
This is largely because much of Asia came to be dominated by Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, all of which are highly philosophical and say little or nothing about origins.07 Sep , am Comment: Spending Britain's aid money on wildlife would be both a vote winner and a planet saver.
Schizophrenia has long been blamed on bad genes or even bad parents. Wrong, says a growing group of psychiatrists. The real culprit, they claim, is a virus that lives entwined in every person's DNA. Humanity is the greatest failure of evolution. Since our birth, from the primordial soup, we have consumed and destroyed.
And there is nothing to stop us from destroying all other life before us.
Inefficiencies, diseases and dysfunctional genes that have resulted from the blind process of evolution. Giant viruses may play an intriguing role in evolution of life on Earth Date: February 7, Source: University of Iowa Summary: A virus may have influenced the evolution of multicellular life.
Jan 23, · When Earth becomes uninhabitable, humanity will need to find a new place to live. Should we look to other planets, or build our own habitat?