Have any evolutionists ever suggested that we’re descended from something other than apes?
Well, if you want to get technical, the theory is that we and the apes have the same ancestor. And considered that they’re specialized for brachiating, knuckle-walking, and such, while we have the same gait and the same non-specialized traits as the ancestors (but larger brains, a more upright posture, and probably much less hair (except for a few bears), it might be more appropriate to say that they’re descended from us.
However, the evidence for an interrelationship among primates generally, the anthropoidea, the hominoidea, and down to the expanded hominidae, is so strong that AFAIK nobody has ever suggested another origin as a working hypothesis within the realm of mainstream science. (Obviously, the National Perspirer and the Institute for Creation Research may have quite different ideas.;))
Right, I knew about the common ancestor thing…
Speaking of bears, I actually have seen a book mention a theroy that humans are most closely related to bears, not apes. But since the book was about Bigfoot mythology, it’s probably outside of mainstream. Does anyone know the full details on this one?
All humans, or just lawyers?
Not that I have ever heard.
However, in Family Resemblance (1953), the science fiction writer Alan E. Nourse did make a rather interesting case for the the proposition that humans are descended from swine. But I suspect he was just feeling a bit misanthropic when he wrote it.
I’d like to know the details of the fictional case for swine as human ancestors. Do you still have the book?
Anaximander, a pre-socratic philosopher (not an evolutionist) believed that humans were born fully formed from a kind of fish.
(How did you guess I just had an exam today on this subject?)
Of course, the most recent common ancestor to humans and other modern apes was, itself, an ape, just not one of the modern species. Remember, of course, that humans are a species of ape.
And according to the mainstream theories, humans are, in fact, descended from things other than apes, just further back in history. Those apes evolved from lemur-like creatures which were the first primates, which in turn evolved from shrew-like things which were the first mammals, etc. Go back far enough, and we’re all decended from archaebacteria.
There are a whole slew of really bizarre ideas about human evolution, which of course have never been taken seriously by reputable biologists. You might call some of these nut-cases “evolutionists” since they accept a sort of evolution, but an aberrant sort. Among the notions: We evolved from space aliens, we evolved from lizards, we evolved from space-alien whales, etc. Pick up a copy of Strange Creations by Donna Kossy.
In Letter From The Earth Mark Twain argued that man was descended from the tiger and “had lost a good deal in the translation.”
There’s an out of print book called Not from the Apes : A History of Man’s Origin and Evolution by Bjorn Kurten. As nearly as I could understand it, the author claims that humans are descended from a linage of higher anthropoids entirely separate from the apes. His hypothesis was non-mainstream even at the time and I would presume that genetic analysis has blown it out of the water.