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Author Topic:   "If I descended from an ape, how come apes are still here?"
Big_Al35
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Posts: 291
Joined: 06-02-2010


Message 151 of 286 (655597)
03-11-2012 5:52 PM
Reply to: Message 150 by Percy
03-10-2012 3:20 PM


Percy writes:

It's not impossible for it to have looked somewhat like a modern chimp, but more likely it was different from both modern humans and chimps.

I was thinking about it from a common sense perspective. Chimpanzees, live in the trees but their ancestors must have lived on the ground before adapting to a life in the trees. Their ancestors who lived on the ground could possibly have had greater similarities to humans than they do, most notably, feet and legs which function better on the ground than on trees. So it makes more logical sense that chimpanzees evolved from a human like ancestor than it does for humans to have gone from turf to tree and then back to turf again.


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Dr Adequate
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Posts: 12966
Joined: 07-20-2006
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Message 152 of 286 (655605)
03-11-2012 7:26 PM
Reply to: Message 151 by Big_Al35
03-11-2012 5:52 PM


I was thinking about it from a common sense perspective. Chimpanzees, live in the trees but their ancestors must have lived on the ground before adapting to a life in the trees. Their ancestors who lived on the ground could possibly have had greater similarities to humans than they do, most notably, feet and legs which function better on the ground than on trees. So it makes more logical sense that chimpanzees evolved from a human like ancestor than it does for humans to have gone from turf to tree and then back to turf again.

Quick quiz: where do monkeys live?

It wouldn't have been humans that went "from turf to tree and then back to turf again". Early primates went up into the trees. Early Hominina came down again.

So if you're looking for a parsimonious sequence of events, it would be this: great apes had a common monkey ancestor that lived in trees. Humans came down, the rest of 'em stayed up. Your way is more complicated, because it involves a common chimp-human ancestor coming down and then the chimp group going back up.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


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Percy
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Posts: 13358
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 153 of 286 (655608)
03-11-2012 7:40 PM
Reply to: Message 151 by Big_Al35
03-11-2012 5:52 PM


Human/Chimp Ancestor
Big_Al35 writes:

Chimpanzees, live in the trees but their ancestors must have lived on the ground before adapting to a life in the trees.

What makes you think so?

But more importantly, if you understand that both chimps and humans are apes, and that the common ancestor was also an ape, why are you posting to this thread?

--Percy


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jar
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Message 154 of 286 (655611)
03-11-2012 8:11 PM
Reply to: Message 151 by Big_Al35
03-11-2012 5:52 PM


Using common sense.
If we use common sense to look at the family of primates we see the origin in trees, both the simians and prosimians that are known lived in trees, and there is no evidence of anything like a hominid until fairly recently, in the last three million years or so.

Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

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RAZD
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From: the other end of the sidewalk
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Message 155 of 286 (655615)
03-11-2012 9:15 PM
Reply to: Message 152 by Dr Adequate
03-11-2012 7:26 PM


Hi Dr Adequate,

So if you're looking for a parsimonious sequence of events, it would be this: great apes had a common monkey ancestor that lived in trees. Humans came down, the rest of 'em stayed up. Your way is more complicated, because it involves a common chimp-human ancestor coming down and then the chimp group going back up.

There may have been a common ancestor that was a "facultative biped: bipedal when moving on the ground, but quadrupedal when moving about in tree branches":

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ardipithecus

quote:
Ardipithecus is a fossil hominoid, described by its discoverers as a very early hominin genus. Two species are described in the literature: A. ramidus, which lived about 4.4 million years ago[1] during the early Pliocene, and A. kadabba, dated to approximately 5.6 million years ago (late Miocene).[2]

There is also the hypothesis that tree walking along limbs pre-adapted these ancestors for walking on the ground when open spaces prevented arboreal transportation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australopithecus

quote:
It is suggested that the ancestors of gorillas and chimpanzees became more specialised in climbing vertical tree trunks, using a bent hip and bent knee posture which matches the knuckle-walking posture they use for ground travel. This was due to climate changes around 11 to 12 million years ago that affected forests in East and Central Africa so that there were periods when openings prevented travel through the tree canopy, and at these times ancestral hominids could have adapted the upright walking behaviour for ground travel. Humans are closely related to these apes, and share features including wrist bones apparently strengthened for knuckle-walking.[6] However, the view that human ancestors were knuckle-walkers is now questioned since the anatomy and biomechanics of knuckle-walking in chimpanzees and gorillas are different suggesting this ability evolved independently after the last common ancestor with the human lineage.[7] Further comparative analysis with other primates suggests these wrist bone adaptations support a palm based tree walking.[7]

One wonders how these differences figure into the new genome information in Gorilla Genome Decoded. They certainly are comfortable on the ground.

And then there is always the question of Paranthropus - was it in the hominid lineage or the gorilla/chimp/bonobos lineage?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paranthropus

quote:
The robust australopithecines, members of the extinct hominin genus Paranthropus (from Greek παρα, para "beside"; άνθρωπος, ánthropos "human"), were bipedal hominids that probably descended from the gracile australopithecine hominids (Australopithecus).[1] They are characterised by robust craniodental anatomy, including gorilla-like cranial crests, which suggest strong muscles of mastication.

All species of Paranthropus were bipedal, and many lived during a time when species of the genus Homo (which were possibly descended from Australopithecus), were prevalent. Paranthropus first appeared roughly 2.7 million years ago.

The behavior of Paranthropus was quite different from that of the genus Homo, in that it was not as adaptable to its environment or as resourceful. Evidence of this exists in the form of its physiology which was specifically tailored to a diet of grubs and plants.


Paranthropus were more robust than Australopithicines ...

Enjoy.

Edited by RAZD, : ..

Edited by RAZD, : picture


we are limited in our ability to understand
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Tangle
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From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.5


(1)
Message 156 of 286 (656046)
03-16-2012 7:36 AM


Latest version, for those still interested.

“If we descended from apes, how come apes are still here?”

What’s wrong with this picture?

Well nothing or pretty much everything – depending on what you think it shows.

If you see it as man evolving over millions of years from ape-like ancestors, you’re right. But if you see it as a picture of how modern monkeys change into people, that’s probably why you may ask the question:

“If we descended from apes, how come apes are still here?”

To ask that question means that there’s a vital piece of information missing from the questioner’s understanding of what evolution is. That vital piece of information is the concept of the tree of life, that all things are related to each other.

An evolution scientist on hearing that question might ask you a question back. Such as:

"if I'm descended from my grandfather, how come he still exists?"

or

“If dogs are descended from wolves, how come there are still wolves?”

Here’s fuller explanation.

Chimpanzees are apes and one of our closest animal relatives - their scientific name is Pan troglodytes.

Now, imagine that you are standing face to face with a female chimpanzee - let’s call her Pan. With your left hand you are holding the hand of your mother and your mother is holding the right hand of her mother and so on for thousands of generations back into the past. By doing this, you know as an absolute certainty that you are descended directly on your mother’s side to everyone in the chain.

Imagine that Pan is doing the same but with her right hand.

You now have two imaginary lines of women and female chimps holding hands going backwards in time - like a railway track with women and chimps lining each side.

You can now walk down the centre of the rails and look carefully at your mother's family line and the chimp's family line going back millions of years.

So what would do you see?

Walking back about 200,000 years on the human side you see a mother who’s husband was a chap science named Heidelberg Man (Homo heidelbergensis ) she’s distinctly human, using tools and standing upright, probably hairless and very tall – the males are up to 7 feet tall. This is the first different species that we’ve come across in our chain. But you wouldn’t be able to tell exactly when Homo sapiens (people) merged into Heidelberg because each mother would look almost identical to the next – you can’t see the join. The changes from mother to mother are so gradual that you only see a change by comparing mothers thousands or millions of years apart. We only now know that Heidelberg is different from us because we’ve found his fossilised remains and we can compare it to ourselves today.

This is why there’s no such thing as a transitional fossil or a missing link; every fossil is a transitional fossil and every living species is in transition to the next – if we had a fossil for every mother in the lines, even the experts wouldn’t be able to say where a separate species had been formed. We can only guess with hindsight.

If you find this hard to grasp or you think it’s impossible for one species to change slowly into another we can see it happening today. For example, we call species that change slowly over geographic areas rather than over time, ring species.

Here in the UK the Herring Gull and the Lesser Black-backed Gull are distinct and non-interbreeding species. But if you physically follow the Herring Gull west towards North America it gradually blurs into something more like a Lesser Black-backed Gull. It carries on changing towards Siberia and when it finally returns to Western Europe the Herring Gull has become a Lesser Black-backed Gull and the two species don’t interbreed. At no point in the ring can you say exactly where it changed species – it’s a gradual merging of characteristics over distance.

As you walk back further, at about 500,000 years ago, you’d see a branch form and go off sideways from our human line, these are the Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis). They lived along side us but developed separately. There may even be Neanderthal mothers in our line, because we think that for some time there was interbreeding.

And so on down the line of mothers through increasingly apelike creatures until at about 2.5 million years ago we reach an animal called the Southern African ape (Australopithecus africanis). This creature is small – around 4 feet, with a brain a third the size of ours and although she stands upright like us, she’s covered in hair and is distinctly apelike. We used to think that this is roughly where chimps split from the human line but modern molecular genetics tells us that it was earlier.

We have to walk much farther down the lines to get to where most evolution scientists think chimps branch off - somewhere about 7m years ago. This mother would have looked something like a chap called ‘Taumai’ (Sahelanthropus tchadensis). He has the same brain size as a modern chimp but his face is a little more like a human than a chimp.

No one knows for sure whether Taumai is the point where chimps start off on their own line but we do know one thing for certain:

Wherever the split actually happened, at this point in the two lines of human and chimp descendants you would see that the right hand of a mother from the chimp line is now holding the left hand of a mother from the human line.
The lines have met – the ancient chimp and the ancient human have the same mother.

This mother starts the lines to both Pan and you, so Pan is your distant cousin. And both you, the human, and Pan, the ape are still here.

So the apes developed along one line and we humans along another. We were in competition with each other whilst in the forest but the reason that there wasn’t only one final surviving winner is because our ancestors moved from the trees onto the open savannah grasslands whilst the apes stayed in the forest.

Once in the open we HAD to adapt to survive in the new environment; walking upright in order to run quickly and for long durations, losing hair to keep cool, developing tool use in order to hunt. The apes in the forest were already adapted to their environment so they developed along their own arboreal paths.


Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

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Big_Al35
Member
Posts: 291
Joined: 06-02-2010


Message 157 of 286 (656265)
03-17-2012 11:37 AM
Reply to: Message 156 by Tangle
03-16-2012 7:36 AM


Tangle writes:

If you see it as man evolving over millions of years from ape-like ancestors, you’re right. But if you see it as a picture of how modern monkeys change into people, that’s probably why you may ask the question

You must admit though that the first image has an uncanny resemblance to a chimpanzee? I would swear that someone had modeled or fashioned that image from what they know about modern chimpanzees. This is what is so misleading about it all. If the images are pure fiction why don't the scientists admit it.


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Coyote
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Posts: 4826
Joined: 01-12-2008
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 158 of 286 (656272)
03-17-2012 12:00 PM
Reply to: Message 157 by Big_Al35
03-17-2012 11:37 AM


You want changes?
You must admit though that the first image has an uncanny resemblance to a chimpanzee? I would swear that someone had modeled or fashioned that image from what they know about modern chimpanzees. This is what is so misleading about it all. If the images are pure fiction why don't the scientists admit it.

If that picture were changed so that the first critter looked more like Lucy or one of the other early fossils would you be happy?


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.

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crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 159 of 286 (656273)
03-17-2012 12:03 PM
Reply to: Message 157 by Big_Al35
03-17-2012 11:37 AM


If the images are pure fiction why don't the scientists admit it.

Admit what?

Did somebody say that was an actual photograph of hominid evolution, or something? I don't think anybody expects you to accept a hand-penciled drawing as anything but an illustration of a concept.


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Dr Adequate
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Posts: 12966
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 160 of 286 (656274)
03-17-2012 12:29 PM
Reply to: Message 157 by Big_Al35
03-17-2012 11:37 AM


You must admit though that the first image has an uncanny resemblance to a chimpanzee? I would swear that someone had modeled or fashioned that image from what they know about modern chimpanzees. This is what is so misleading about it all. If the images are pure fiction why don't the scientists admit it.

They're not pure fiction. But they are based on a certain amount of extrapolation and guesswork. And every scientist will indeed tell you that. Have you ever, ever, ever heard any scientist claiming that artists' reconstructions are perfectly accurate? No, you haven't.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


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jar
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Posts: 24971
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 161 of 286 (656276)
03-17-2012 12:47 PM
Reply to: Message 158 by Coyote
03-17-2012 12:00 PM


Re: You want changes?
Or maybe a Lemur or one of the other Prosimians?

Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

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RAZD
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(2)
Message 162 of 286 (656285)
03-17-2012 1:29 PM
Reply to: Message 156 by Tangle
03-16-2012 7:36 AM


Hi Tangle,

Latest version, for those still interested.

There are a couple of points I think we should make.

1. That picture is waaaay outdated, almost embarrassingly so, and does not really depict the current known stages of evolution of (a) hominins and (b) hominids, and (c) humans, and (d) (worst of all) it is an artistic impression. The common ancestor with chimps now appears to be an arboreal ape that did not knuckle walk (it appears that there is a difference between gorilla and chimp knuckle-walking sufficient that they may be independently evolved (derived) rather than inherited).

A much better picture is this one:

quote:

(A) Pan troglodytes, chimpanzee, modern
(B) Australopithecus africanus, STS 5, 2.6 My
(C) Australopithecus africanus, STS 71, 2.5 My
(D) Homo habilis, KNM-ER 1813, 1.9 My
(E) Homo habilis, OH24, 1.8 My
(F) Homo rudolfensis, KNM-ER 1470, 1.8 My
(G) Homo erectus, Dmanisi cranium D2700, 1.75 My
(H) Homo ergaster (early H. erectus), KNM-ER 3733, 1.75 My
(I) Homo heidelbergensis, "Rhodesia man," 300,000 - 125,000 y
(J) Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, La Ferrassie 1, 70,000 y
(K) Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, La Chappelle-aux-Saints, 60,000 y
(L) Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, Le Moustier, 45,000 y
(M) Homo sapiens sapiens, Cro-Magnon I, 30,000 y
(N) Homo sapiens sapiens, modern

Although I would replace A with an Ardipithicus ramidus skull and I would add this skull between I and J

This is a 160,000 year old fossil skull of Homo sapiens found in ethiopia
http://www.berkeley.edu/.../releases/2003/06/11_idaltu.shtml

Put that all together with full (or as full as possible) skeletons for Homo sapiens, Homo neanderthalis, Homo erectus (Turkana boy), Homo habilis (tool maker), Australopithicus afarensis (Lucy) and Ardipithicus ramidus (ardi), and you have a much better picture.

Here are Neanderthal, Cro-Magnon (H sapiens) and Turkana boy (H erectus) adjust to be the same height:

Most everybody is familiar with "Lucy" but here is how she appears as a standing skeleton (completed with mirrored elements or parts from other Australopithicus afarensis fossils):

Here is ardi drawn as a full skeleton:

2. The branch to Neanderthals in the hand-holding analogy is just the latest in a number of such branches, to other hominids and farther back to other apes. There is also a branch on the chimp side to Bonobos. Another major recent hominid branch would be for Homo erectus colonizing asia, and may have interbred with sapiens there.

Further, if you started with a gorilla rather than a chimp you'd have a branch for chimp, and if you started with Orangutan, you'd have a branch for gorilla, etc.

3. The example given -- ‘Taumai’ (Sahelanthropus tchadensis) -- for a hominid ancestor, may instead be a common ancestor with chimps or a gorilla ancestor or a different branch. A better example would be Ardipithicus. It may even be that the Ardipithicus family includes the common ancestor with chimps.

4. The description of the Southern African ape (Australopithecus africanis) as "covered in hair" is speculation and likely, imho, to be wrong ... on two counts: first, we are covered in hair, and second we don't know how far back selection for apparent bareness occurred. We see some evidence in gorillas and some in lactating female chimps, so a common ancestor with gorillas may have had significant areas of apparent bareness.

5. The Savannah theory has it backwards. Our ancestors were pre-adapted to bipedal walking and running (see Ardipithicus again), and may have been relatively more apparently bare due to sexual selection (which is still ongoing). There is no need for "losing hair to keep cool" as evidenced by the lack of any other species doing so. What humans did do was evolve sweating to keep cool. Horses have also evolved sweating, yet they still have fur.

Enjoy.

Edited by RAZD, : clrty

Edited by RAZD, : replace A

Edited by RAZD, : )

Edited by RAZD, : added early homo sap skull


we are limited in our ability to understand
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This message is a reply to:
 Message 156 by Tangle, posted 03-16-2012 7:36 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
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Percy
Member
Posts: 13358
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 1.9


(2)
Message 163 of 286 (656288)
03-17-2012 1:55 PM
Reply to: Message 157 by Big_Al35
03-17-2012 11:37 AM


Big_Al35 writes:

You must admit though that the first image has an uncanny resemblance to a chimpanzee? I would swear that someone had modeled or fashioned that image from what they know about modern chimpanzees. This is what is so misleading about it all. If the images are pure fiction why don't the scientists admit it.

You're absolutely right, the first image looks just like a chimpanzee. I think the scientists who presented that illustration in a scientific peer-reviewed paper *should* admit that it's fiction. In which journal did this diagram appear, and who were the authors? We'll hound and email them until they all retract and disavow the paper.

Of course, the illustration might only be the work of an artist attempting to illustrate that human evolution is a succession of changing forms over time. Clues that the image was never included in a scientific paper about human evolution are the lack of genus/species labels, and the use of animal images instead of skeletons. It's the kind of image one might use when making the point that humans evolved, and it is not the sort of image one would use to illustrate possible paths of human evolution.

If you want accurate information about the current state of knowledge about human evolution you need only go to the Wikipedia article on evolution where no version of that illustration appears.

--Percy


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Tangle
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Posts: 2539
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.5


(2)
Message 164 of 286 (656295)
03-17-2012 2:42 PM
Reply to: Message 162 by RAZD
03-17-2012 1:29 PM


RAZD writes:

1. That picture is waaaay outdated, almost embarrassingly so, and does not really depict the current known stages of evolution of (a) hominins and (b) hominids, and (c) humans, and (d) (worst of all) it is an artistic impression. The common ancestor with chimps now appears to be an arboreal ape that did not knuckle walk (it appears that there is a difference between gorilla and chimp knuckle-walking sufficient that they may be independently evolved (derived) rather than inherited).

Yes, I totally agree, but the whole point of the story is to show that the picture that the reader has in his head (of man descending from a chimp) is wrong.

I'm trying to debunk that image, not show it as true.

The rest of your post will take me some time to consider. I'm not trying to produce something that contains everything we know plus alternative scenarios, I'm trying to tell a simple story that is as supported by the facts as possible for people who are befuddled by the whole thing.

But it does need to be as accurate as it can be, so I'll go through your points and see what I can use.


Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

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Coragyps
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Posts: 5145
From: Snyder, Texas, USA
Joined: 11-12-2002
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 165 of 286 (656398)
03-18-2012 9:28 AM
Reply to: Message 159 by crashfrog
03-17-2012 12:03 PM


That image, or a close cousin, is old enough to have been parodied in a New Yorker cartoon in 1925, during/after the Scopes trial. It was titled "the rise and fall of mankind" and showed a similar ape, a brutish "Neanderthal," the spear-carrier, Socrates, and finally William Jennings Bryan.
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