Don’t worry, I haven’t become a creationist! But for heaven’s sake, can we please stop using this misleading evolution graphic?? AND all the endless permutations of the same misleading “progress of man” theme…OK, some of them are funny, & some are probably an appropriate commentary on the silly notion of evolutionary progress, but enough already! BBC, bloggers, even the Leakey Foundation for heaven’s sake – get a grip on the latest! We know this isn’t how it happened, & I know we can come up with something more accurate & trendy.
First of all – duh – our ancestors weren’t all male & they certainly weren’t caucasian. Secondly, some of our ancestors were on average taller than humans. Third, one of our closest cousins, the Neanderthals, had larger brains (note to self: no more labeling a dense person a neanderthal). Fourth, there wasn’t any kind of straight-line progression from our common ancestor with chimpanzees & bonobos (6-7 million years ago) to Australopithecus, Homo erectus, Neanderthals, & Homo sapiens. In fact, the hominin family ‘bush’ looks sorta like a favorite Italian dish:
Notice that some of the noodles are cut off – extinctions of some of our ancestors. Notice too that some show clouded areas – maybe more extinctions? maybe that hominin line continues to evolve into other hominins, into humans? …we don’t know for sure, yet. We may never know. Primate fossils are hard to come by, which is why when a new one is uncovered (most likely in Africa) , it’s always big news. But we do know that we had many close relatives over the past 6-7 million years, and that we are the only one, the only hominin, still living on earth.
So next time you see something like this – & it’s ubiquitous, believe me – instead remember spaghetti…it’s our human primate heritage.