The biological and cultural development of homo sapiens

Cro-Magnon France 27, Note: Artifactual evidence indicates that modern humans were in Europe by at least 40, and possibly as early as 46, years ago. Dating of the earliest modern human fossils in Asia is less secure, but it is likely that they were present there by at least 60, years ago and possiblyyears ago.

The biological and cultural development of homo sapiens

Scientific evidence shows that the physical and behavioral traits shared by all people originated from apelike ancestors and evolved over a period of approximately six million years. One of the earliest defining human traits, bipedalism -- the ability to walk on two legs -- evolved over 4 million years ago.

The biological and cultural development of homo sapiens

Other important human characteristics -- such as a large and complex brain, the ability to make and use tools, and the capacity for language -- developed more recently.

Many advanced traits -- including complex symbolic expression, art, and elaborate cultural diversity -- emerged mainly during the pastyears. Physical and genetic similarities show that the modern human speciesHomo sapiens, has a very close relationship to another group of primate species, the apes.

Humans first evolved in Africa, and much of human evolution occurred on that continent. The fossils of early humans who lived between 6 and 2 million years ago come entirely from Africa. Most scientists currently recognize some 15 to 20 different species of early humans. Scientists do not all agree, however, about how these species are related or which ones simply died out.

Many early human species -- certainly the majority of them — left no living descendants. Scientists also debate over how to identify and classify particular species of early humans, and about what factors influenced the evolution and extinction of each species.

Early humans first migrated out of Africa into Asia probably between 2 million and 1. They entered Europe somewhat later, between 1. Species of modern humans populated many parts of the world much later.

For instance, people first came to Australia probably within the past 60, years and to the Americas within the past 30, years or so. The beginnings of agriculture and the rise of the first civilizations occurred within the past 12, years.

Paleoanthropology Paleoanthropology is the scientific study of human evolution. Paleoanthropology is a subfield of anthropology, the study of human culture, society, and biology.

The field involves an understanding of the similarities and differences between humans and other species in their genes, body form, physiology, and behavior. Paleoanthropologists search for the roots of human physical traits and behavior. They seek to discover how evolution has shaped the potentials, tendencies, and limitations of all people.

For many people, paleoanthropology is an exciting scientific field because it investigates the origin, over millions of years, of the universal and defining traits of our species. However, some people find the concept of human evolution troubling because it can seem not to fit with religious and other traditional beliefs about how people, other living things, and the world came to be.

Nevertheless, many people have come to reconcile their beliefs with the scientific evidence. Early human fossils and archeological remains offer the most important clues about this ancient past.

These remains include bones, tools and any other evidence such as footprints, evidence of hearths, or butchery marks on animal bones left by earlier people. Usually, the remains were buried and preserved naturally.

They are then found either on the surface exposed by rain, rivers, and wind erosion or by digging in the ground. By studying fossilized bones, scientists learn about the physical appearance of earlier humans and how it changed. Bone size, shape, and markings left by muscles tell us how those predecessors moved around, held tools, and how the size of their brains changed over a long time.

Archeological evidence refers to the things earlier people made and the places where scientists find them. By studying this type of evidence, archeologists can understand how early humans made and used tools and lived in their environments. The process of evolution The process of evolution involves a series of natural changes that cause species populations of different organisms to arise, adapt to the environment, and become extinct.

All species or organisms have originated through the process of biological evolution. In animals that reproduce sexually, including humans, the term species refers to a group whose adult members regularly interbreed, resulting in fertile offspring -- that is, offspring themselves capable of reproducing.

Scientists classify each species with a unique, two-part scientific name. In this system, modern humans are classified as Homo sapiens. Evolution occurs when there is change in the genetic material -- the chemical molecule, DNA -- which is inherited from the parents, and especially in the proportions of different genes in a population.

Genes represent the segments of DNA that provide the chemical code for producing proteins. Information contained in the DNA can change by a process known as mutation.

The way particular genes are expressed — that is, how they influence the body or behavior of an organism -- can also change.

Behavioral influences

Evolution does not change any single individual.Human evolution is the biological and cultural development of humans. A human is any member of the species Homo sapiens, meaning "wise man." Since at least the Upper Paleolithic era, some 40, years ago, every human society has devised a creation myth to explain how humans came to be.

Many biologists and social scientists have noted that with the development of human culture, the biological evolution of Homo sapiens was usurped by socio-cultural evolution. The construction of artificial environments and social structures created new criteria for selection, and biological fitness.

Cultural evolution is the development of learned behaviour as it is passed from one generation to the next. Cultural evolution is not confined only to humans but it is only in primitive form in other groups of animals e.g apes which make and use tools to help gather food and pass on this learning to others.

Likewise, the development of early tools (cultural evolution) resulted in an improved diet, which in turn allowed for the selection (biological evolution) of a larger brain.

This in turn aided the further development of tools and so on and so forth. Early Modern Homo sapiens.

Early Human Evolution: Early Human Culture

A ll people today are classified as Homo sapiens. Our species of humans first began to evolve nearly , years ago in association with technologies not unlike those of the early Neandertals. It is now clear that early Homo sapiens, or modern humans, did not come after the Neandertals but were their contemporaries.

Comparative Human-nonhuman primate anatomy, fossil hominins, capacity for culture, and toolmaking evolution.

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