The Theory of Evolution Part 1 Home
The origin and evolution of humankind and the origin of Human Civilisation
From the Evolutionistí point of view
RESTORATION BY A. FORESTIER OF THE RHODESIAN MAN WHOSE SKULL WAS DISCOVERED IN 1921
Attention may be drawn to the beetling eyebrow ridges, the projecting upper lip, the large eye-sockets, the wellpoised
head, the strong shoulders.
The squatting figure is crushing seeds with a stone, and a crusher is lying on the rock to his right.
The figure in the foreground, holding a staff, shows the erect attitude and the straight legs. His left hand holds a flint
On the left, behind the sitting figure, is seen the entrance to the cave. This new Rhodesian cave-man may be regarded
as a southern representative of a Neanderthal race, or as an extinct type intermediate between the Neanderthal Men
and the Modern Man type.
In biology, the continual process by which one form of life changes or evolves into another form. The theory of evolution
suggests that all plants and animals descended from one or several kinds of simple organisms. It also explains why
there are so many different kinds of plants and animals. The inherent characteristics of nearly all living things change
from generation to generation. Eventually the accumulating changes may become so great that the descendant bears
little likeness to it's remote ancestor and may belong to a different species.
Evolution takes place by means of natural selection, mutation and sexual recombination.
Darwinism may be defined as the doctrine of natural selection or the survival of the fitttest as put forward by Charles
Darwin in The Origin of Species, published in 1859. Popularly it is usually regarded as equivalent to the theory of
evolution, often considered only in it's application to one organism - man.
When the theory of evolution first came to public attention in 1859 it was met with a storm of protest and ridicule.
Some people, misinterpreting the theory, thought it claimed that man was descended from apes. Actually, the theory
states that man and apes had a common ancestor that was neither man nor ape.)
Approximately 5 million years ago, the human line and the ape line shared a common ancestor having more or less of
a monkey-like nature from which the apes went on their separate way, leading to modern gorillas, chimps and orang-
utans, and the hominid line ( refers to the human family) went on in another direction, producing the Australopithecus -
line diverges into sub-lines, one of which will eventually give rise to Homo sapiens (modern man)
Man in virtue of his faculty of speech is the highest member of the anthropoids, his nearest of kin being the gorilla,
chimpanzee, orang and gibbon. From a zoological standpoint man differs from the anthropoid apes in 1) his adaptation
to the erect position and the terrestrial habitat, in 2) his greater brain development and in 3) the very fully developed
Human line of evolution - Beginning with:
The oldest living things were simple, one-celled organisms living in the sea.
Started about 600 million years - Life in the oceans originates.No life on earth.
Started about 550 million rears ago - Life exists only in the oceans. Invertebrates evolve. Seaweeds the only plants -
provide food for worms, jellyfish, sponges,....
Started about 500 million years ago - Life exists only in the oceans. Vertebrates evolve. Volcanic eruptions on the floor
of the oceans.
Started about 430 million years ago - Life in the oceans develop and the first plants appear on land. New species of
vertebrates develop in the oceans. Level of the oceans rise and new mountain ranges beginning to form.
Started about 400 million years ago - More plants with leaves and roots appear and evolve on earth. Rapid evolution of
vertebrate animals. Ancestors of all fish evolve. Invertebrates - mites, spiders, wingless insects - leave the oceans.
Started about 350 million years ago - Amphibious creatures continue to develop. More plants and trees appear.
Reptiles become the first creatures to breed on land.
Between 40 - 300 million years ago - Life in the oceans and on earth evolving. Development of the oceans, land,
continents, rivers, lakes, mountain ranges and deltas continue, as well as changes in climate conditions.
Animal life is predominantly reptilian. Over time the first mammals evolve from the reptiles. The first dinosaurs appear.
In the following periods reptiles increase in size and variety. Dinosaurs and pterosaurs dominate life on land and in the
Marine life continues to be dominated by reptiles - at a later stage become extinct while many varieties of modern
mammals come into existence - ancestors of the elephant, the rhinoceros, the horse, the pig and cattle. Giant reptiles
Primitive monkeys and gibbons appear and began to evolve into the main groups about 38 - 60 million years ago.
And then in the Oligocene period ( 26 - 40 million years ago) a tail-less primitive ape appears.
In the Miocene period ( 8 - 27 million years ago) the Proconsul, a primitive anthropoid ape living in central africa
migrates to Asia and Europe.
In the same period a gibbon-like ape was common in the open plains and less dense forests of Eurasia.This group
is believed to hold the common ancestry of the chimpanzee, gorilla, and humans.
In the Pliocene period ( started 7 million years ago) man-like apes continue to develop. They included the species
known as the Australopithecus. See: Genus Australopithecus.
A large number of fossil bones and teeth have been found at various places throughout Africa, Europe, and Asia.
Tools of stone, bone, and wood, as well as fire hearths, campsites, and burials, also have been discovered and
excavated. As a result of these discoveries, a picture of human evolution during the past 4 to 5 million years has
Ardipithecus ramidus....First known hominid (proto-human) from fossil remains. This species is the oldest known
hominid,dated at 4.4 million years ago.
About 2 - 4 million years ago:
Possibly the best-known specimen of afarensis is Lucy, a 3.2 million year old partial skeleton found in November 1974
at Hadar, Ethiopia.
South Africa - A remarkable find was made in 1947 by Dr Robert Broom, who discovered a perfectly preserved adult
Australopithecus africanus cranium, belonging to the 2, 5-million-year-old "Mrs Ples", at Sterkfontein. Several hundred
discoveries followed, some dating back 3, 5 million years. Some of the cradles findings include 500 skull, jaw, teeth and
skeletal fossils of early hominids, thousands of other animal fossils, over 300 fragments of fossils wood, and over 9,000 s
Limpopo, South Africa...... Go To Part 1.1