The Evolution of Man
The evolution of man is an area of study that will never fully be understood, however, evidence has been accumulated to allow us to paste together a picture of what happened in the beginning of time. It allows us to gather an idea of how man progressed to exist in the state in which we see him now. We can see that the evolution of man was directly influenced by his environment. Man’s intellectual development directly effected the physical changes that we see. It is apparent through observation that the environmental changes also induced some of the physical changes that man underwent. These environmental changes and seemingly intellectual development slowly refined man’s behavior, as well as his way of life. We also can see how man develops along with the changes in sophistication of the tools he used. We can observe that the progression of the tools coincide directly with the progression of the evolution of man. As the technology, as simple as it was, slowly became more advanced, we see how the
apparent effect that it has on early man’s development and how those advances made, effected the actions and behavior of man. It is essentially those changes in behavior and lifestyle which lead to man’s evolution. In this paper, I will include some of my observations of the physical development of man from ancient human-like animals to modern day man.
At the American Museum of Natural History I observed the exhibit of Lucy. Lucy was found in Hadar Ethiopia and is the name given to a fossil skeleton of a hominid who lived over 3.2 million years ago. Lucy stands as the most complete skeleton known of an early human predecessor. She is known to be part of the bipedal primate know as Australopithecus afarensis. Lucy was expected to be twenty-five years old and roughly four feet tall. What we know about Australopithecus afarensis is that they walked upright and were able to climb trees. Australopithecus afarensis, like Lucy, had small skulls, small brain cases, projecting faces, large chewing teeth and looked ape-like. Looking at Lucy, my tour guide pointed out her primitive limb proportions. Although she did walk upright on two legs, her legs were very short, adopted to climbing, indicating that she may have taken shelter in the trees at night. We can also observe that Lucy
had very long hands. The proportion of her hands in comparison to her short legs would implicate that she walked in a different fashion than the way we do today. She would have had to swing her arms around, making her motions similar to those of an ape.
Five million years after Lucy, Australopithecus africanus appears. This creature also walked upright but lived in relatively open country and obtained food mainly by gathering and scavenging.
Australopithecus africanus’ face did not project as far as his ancestors, had smaller incisor teeth and a slightly larger brain compared to body size. I enjoyed the exhibit of...