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Problems and Parallels - Essay Example

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It is very difficult to know exactly when humankind began. One reason is because we can only rely on evidence that has been left behind by chance in the form of bones and a few tools and artefacts and this can only ever give us a partial picture. The other reason is that…
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Problems and Parallels
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Problems and Parallels

The species homo erectus was almost human, because it was an advanced hominid which walked upright on two legs. This species disappeared 230,000 years ago and was replaced by homo sapiens. The word sapiens comes from Latin and means “knowing” and it refers to the larger brain size and greater intelligence of homo sapiens. Humans share a large percentage of their genes with apes and chimpanzees but their larger brain size and differences in the physical structure of their hands and their speaking organs make it easier for humans to adapt and learn new skills like tool use and language. Quite a lot of the social behaviors of humans and apes are similar and some chimpanzees have even been taught to speak sign language, and so the overlap is perhaps bigger than we might expect just by looking at the hairy bodies of other primates.
2. It was once thought that Neanderthals with their larger body size and heavier skulls were an earlier form of humanoid but scholars now accept that they are part of the same species as homo sapiens and probably interbred with the more slender form of human that we resemble today. Archeologists have discovered that the two species overlapped in time by many thousands of years, and it may be that the higher intelligence and better adaptability of anatomically modern humans gradually squeezed the Neanderthals to the edges of the known world until they died out. Homo florensiensis skeletons found just a few years ago have set the scientists rethinking the whole definition of homo sapiens because these tiny 1 meter tall pygmy like people have some similarities with older forms of hominid, and yet apart from their reduced size, seem also very similar to modern humans. They, too, seem to have co-existed with modern humans in the same area at the same time, and may have lasted until about 12,000 years ago, which is longer than the ... Read More
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