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Human Evolution

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Final Exam, Essay Question # 2

When people take a look at African history in general many topics and ideas come to mind. How the people of Africa lived, how they developed civilizations and cultures, and how their oral traditions came about are just a few examples. When I am trying to learn about different groups of people and different areas of the world I most likely start at the very beginning of their existence. Africa being the origin of man and the home for the majority of developments of early humans suggests that human evolution is an extremely import topic in African history today. Keeping this in mind it is obvious that if any elements from our African Civilizations class should be required taught in U.S. high schools, the origin of man and human evolution should be considered important enough. Along with the historical controversy it created, Charles Darwin's theory of evolution is relevant to everything on this planet. This lesson is important for students in a number of ways. Requiring this teaching will help the world progress and gain more knowledge about evolution in the future. High school students need to learn this because it helps them to understand themselves more as well as the continent of Africa. By learning this it also gives students a chance to better develop their own ideas and opinions about how humans came to be. How the hominids and primates advanced technologically, adapted, and developed into modern day Homo sapiens are important topics in African history and everyday life.

The theory of evolution, proposed by Charles Darwin in 1859, suggested that humans evolved from chimpanzees and gorillas many millions of years ago. The discovery of the earliest hominid (Australopithecus) by anthropologist Raymond Dart, in 1925, was made in South Africa. From the time of the Australopithecus, archeological evidence has provided quite an amount of information on other branches of early humanlike creatures. I as well as many others would be skeptical about the thought of humans evolving from apes if there wasn't a decent amount of archaeological proof to support this idea. Students should learn about stone- tool, fossil, and artifact evidence because it will provide them with knowledge of how hominids lived, adapted and evolved over time. It is important to learn what happened from the very beginning and this information provides the basis of the earliest African history. Characteristics of human evolution included hominids learning to stand and walk, the increasing brain size of them throughout time, and their development of longer fingers. These were vital to their progress, transformation to humans, and were evident during the early ape, Australopithecus as well as the later Homo existence. Even though there have been many archaeological findings that have provided useful information on this subject, there is still a lot that remains unanswered. There still remains a missing link in the change from monkeys to humans." Recent research, however, has provided so many Ð''links' in the form of fossil evidence that one scholar has remarked:" It would be far more truthful to say that it is the chain that is missing whilst the links exist."(( Posnanksy in Zamani, 1974, pg.53) -Shillington 2). If America wants to make progress in this area, requiring this subject to be taught in high schools would be a very positive step. The more students that are educated about evolution at a young age, the more there will be who seek professions in this field as adults. A new generation of talented and highly qualified scientists



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